Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Procedures

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Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Procedures


Approval authority
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Designated officer
Director, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching
First approved
11 December 2008
Last amended
8 June 2016
Effective start date
11 December 2015
Review date
1 July 2018
Related documents
Administration of Central Examinations - Procedures
Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Academic Policy
Deferred Examinations - Procedures
Review of Assessment and Final Grade - Procedures
Staff Code of Conduct - Governing Policy
Supplementary Assessment - Procedures


Please refer to the University’s Glossary of terms for policy and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to the effectiveness of it:

Feedback is the information fed back to the student on their performance that helps them move towards the learning goal.

Moderation is a rigorous quality review and assurance process that confirms or modifies the task’s fitness for purpose, the consistency of the marker’s judgments and the validity, reliability and fairness of the outcome and ultimately ensures academic standards are met.

Substantial assessment task is a task that contributes greater than 30 percent of a course’s total assessment.

Standards referenced assessment is the approach taken to assessment at the University of the Sunshine Coast where the achievement of students is assessed and reported in relation to a predetermined standard established for the course.

Summative assessment is evaluative in nature. It is assessment designed to gather evidence of the extent of a student’s success in achieving specified learning outcomes for a course or program and which contributes to a student’s final grade in a course.

  • Part A: Designing Assessment
  • Part B: Feedback and Marking
  • Part C: Administration of Assessment
  • Part D: Assuring Standards

Part A: Designing Assessment

These procedures refer to 12 unit undergraduate courses regardless of delivery mode. For course offered in more than one delivery mode, all offerings of the course will have the same assessment requirements.

Courses that have a different unit value or are postgraduate courses may have different assessment requirements; these differences are identified in sections 1.15 and 1.16.

1. Choice of assessment

1.1 At program level:

1.1.1 Multiple types of assessment tasks will be used across the program.

1.1.2 Each graduate attribute will be assessed at a variety of levels and in a range of contexts giving students multiple opportunities to demonstrate their attainment. Each course will assess a sub-set of the graduate attributes, giving students reasonably balanced experiences in all graduate attributes through the duration of the program.

1.1.3 There will be a clear progression in the performance expectations required in assessment tasks from introductory to advanced level courses within each program.

1.1.4 The spread of assessment tasks across required courses in a program is monitored to prevent students in the program being exposed to an unreasonably high workload.

1.2 At course level:

1.2.1 Each assessment task in a course aligns with specific learning outcomes which, in turn, align with relevant Graduate Attributes. Most courses will address a sub-set of Graduate Attributes in the assessment. It is not expected that a single course will address all graduate qualities or generic skills unless it is an identified capstone course.

1.2.2 Assessment tasks normally assess the knowledge, skills and qualities that students have had the opportunity to learn within the course but tasks can also develop, extend or build on knowledge, skills and qualities that are designated as prerequisites or assumed knowledge in the Course Outline.

1.2.3 In designing the assessment for a course, Course Coordinators will consider the principles informing assessment designated in the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs - Academic Policy. In addition, consideration will be given to:

a) how the assessment will engage with the diverse experiences and backgrounds of learners within the course

b) the context in which students will demonstrate what they know and can do, and what standard the student must meet

c) the amount of assessment required to generate evidence that enables reliable and valid judgments of student performance to be made about the degree to which the student has met the learning outcomes

d) the workload that the assessment requires of both students and markers and the sustainability of those approaches to assessment

e) opportunities for both formative and summative assessment

f) the level of the course (introductory, advanced, undergraduate, postgraduate)

g) professional accreditation requirements.

1.2.4 The same principles of assessment and considerations for assessment design apply to courses normally taken in the first year of a program as to those of higher years. However, Course Coordinators should be particularly careful to ensure that assessment practices, requirements and policies are made explicit to students in their first year of study.

1.2.5 A variety of assessment methods are to be employed in each course so that the limitations of particular methods are minimised. (eg. There must be variety in genre/text type, role, audience, mode, medium). Topics should be regularly rotated from year to year.

1.3 Formative and Summative Assessment

1.3.1 All courses will include formative assessment, where students are offered feedback on ways to enhance learning in relation to learning outcomes, to improve approaches to summative assessment task prior to submission. Courses may also include opportunities for students to generate self or peer feedback and use formative assessment information to improve their own learning.

1.3.2 All courses will include summative assessment, where students provide evidence of learning to demonstrate the extent to which learning outcomes have been achieved. Assessment tasks that are summative usually provide students with evaluative feedback, including a result for the task and contribute to the overall assessment of the course.

1.4 Number and weighting of assessment tasks

1.4.1 The design of the assessment should reflect the valued knowledge, skills and qualities of the course.

1.4.2 There will normally be two or three summative assessment tasks in a 12 unit course.

1.4.3 Up to 12 periodic assessment exercises can be included in a course as either formative assessment (non-weighted) or as one of the course’s summative tasks.

1.4.4 Each summative assessment task is allocated a weighting reflecting its relative value in measuring the learning outcomes.

1.4.5 No assessment task in an undergraduate course of 12 unit value will be weighted at more than 50 percent of the total assessment value for the course.

1.5 Class participation and attendance

1.5.1 Class participation means assessing students on the quality of their contribution in an active and cooperative learning process either face to face or online.

1.5.2 If participation is included as an assessment task, it will not be weighted at more than 10 percent of the total assessment for the course. Like all assessment tasks, participation will be assessed on an evidence basis through the application of criteria.

1.5.3 No result can be allocated for attendance (either on-campus or online).

1.5.4 A minimum level of participation may be required in order to pass a course provided that one or more of the following circumstances are met:

a) professional accreditation specifies requirements for particular activities or to achieve particular competencies; or

b) there are statutory requirements such as occupational health and safety training.

1.5.5 In the exceptional circumstance where attendance is mandated by a professional accreditation authority, this will be specified in the Course Outline and reasonable alternatives will be provided for students who cannot attend because of circumstances beyond their control.

1.6 Group work

1.6.1 Where group work is an assessment task, the Course Coordinator will design the curriculum to include procedures and learning activities to facilitate effective management of, and learning through, group work.

1.6.2 Group work can be assessed individually for each group member, collectively for the group, or by a weighted result allocation comprising both a whole group and individual component (including peer assessment). Students must be made aware of the criteria and any weighting associated with each criterion in the Course Outline.

1.6.3 The assessment criteria will make it possible for students to be marked separately, should exceptional circumstances necessitate separate results.

1.7 Peer assessment

1.7.1 Where peer assessment is utilised as a summative assessment task, it can be weighted at a maximum of 10 percent of the total assessment for the course. Peer assessment can also be utilised formatively to enable students to actively improve their learning.

1.7.2 Processes for peer assessment will be designed to ensure that students are treated with fairness, consistency and respect. The Course Coordinator will provide written guidelines and criteria for students undertaking peer assessment.

1.7.3 The Course Coordinator will moderate the results of peer assessment as appropriate for formative tasks and as a requirement for summative tasks.

1.8 Self assessment

Self assessment can be included in an assessment schedule as a formative activity but no summative results can be awarded as the focus of self-assessment is to reflect on and improve the learning as demonstrated through summative tasks.

1.9 Negotiated assessment

In some instances, the Course Coordinator may want to negotiate aspects of the assessment task with students during the teaching period as part of the learning experience. When this occurs, all students in the course must be given an opportunity to participate. Negotiated assessment opportunities should be represented in the Course Outline through a broad description of the purpose and process. If required, the learning outcomes that will be addressed in the task are identified as a proxy for criteria, until specific criteria are designed. All other assessment procedures still apply in a negotiated task.

1.10 Spread of assessment

1.10.1 Assessment tasks in each course will be spread across the teaching weeks to facilitate student learning, maximise opportunities for students to benefit by receiving feedback from earlier assessment tasks prior to submitting subsequent tasks, and manage workloads for students and staff.

1.10.2 Submission of assessment tasks, other than central examinations, will normally occur during the teaching weeks. For some courses, such as those involving industry/professional placements, due dates for some assessment tasks may extend beyond the teaching session.

1.10.3 No course will include both a central examination and another assessment task that is due outside the teaching weeks.

1.10.4 No assessment tasks are to be due during the University’s identified exam preparation period or on a weekend, unless weekend attendance is a requirement of the course.

1.11 Early assessment

To ensure that students have early feedback on their progress in a course, each course will normally include an assessment task or a component of an assessment task due in the first third of the teaching weeks for the semester, trimester or session. The task should be designed to link with and develop knowledge and skills that are required for assessment later within the course. The early assessment item can be between zero and 30 percent of the total assessment value for the course.

1.12 Assessment criteria and standards

1.12.1 Assessment criteria are the elements the assessor will focus on when making a judgement about the task. The Course Coordinator identifies criteria for each assessment task in the Course Outline.

1.12.2 Criteria must be based on the learning outcomes of the course and thus assess those learning outcomes.

1.12.3 All assessment tasks must have criteria. These criteria must be specified in the Course Outline.

1.12.4 An assessment task normally will have no more than six criteria.

1.12.5 Any grading tools such as criterion-referenced assessment rubrics or marking guides must be made available to students at the beginning of the teaching period when the course site on the learning management system is made available. Rubrics and marking guides should have the same criteria as is specified in the Course Outline.

1.12.6 Rubrics and marking guides typically include three elements: the criteria, the standards (for example High Distinction (HD) to Fail (FL)) and the standards descriptors, which succinctly describe the levels of achievement required for each criteria at each standard. (Refer to the University’s Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) - Academic Policy for generic descriptions of each standard).

1.13 Maximum total word count per course

1.13.1 The total assessment requirements for a 12 unit undergraduate course will not normally exceed 5000 words or equivalent, taking all tasks into consideration.

1.14 Courses assessed using Limited Grades

1.14.1 The use of Limited Grades – Pass (PU) and Fail (UF) – is restricted to courses where there is either:

  • a work integrated learning activity at either Categories 1 or 2 level (refer to the Work Integrated Learning - Academic Policy ); or
  • extensive project work/coursework assessed in diverse settings external to the University; or
  • a professional competency task is included in the course.

1.14.2 In a course eligible to use Limited Grades, all assessments item in that course are marked on a Pass/Fail basis.

1.14.3 In a course using Limited Grades, all assessment tasks relating to a work integrated learning activity or a professional competency task are required to be passed for a student to successfully complete the course.

1.14.4 Supplementary assessment is not available in courses using Limited Grades (refer to the Supplementary Assessment – Procedures).

1.14.5 No program can contain more than 50 percent of required courses that are assessed using Limited Grades.

1.14.6 In a course using Limited Grades, there is no requirement that each summative assessment task is allocated a weighting reflecting its relative value in measuring the learning outcomes.

1.15 Assessment in postgraduate courses

1.15.1 A postgraduate course is one coded at 500, 600 or 700 level and offered in a postgraduate coursework program (Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma Master Degree (Coursework).

1.15.2 In a postgraduate course, an early assessment task is not required but students should still receive developmental feedback on their progress in the early part of the course.

1.15.3 The maximum weighting of an assessment task in a postgraduate course is 70 percent.

1.15.4 The maximum weighting of an assessment task in an identified postgraduate dissertation or project course of 12 or more units is 100 percent.

1.15.5 For postgraduate courses the word length is a maximum of 7000 or equivalent, taking all tasks into consideration.

1.16 Assessment in courses with a unit value other than 12 units

1.16.1 The maximum weighting of an assessment task for a six unit course is 70 percent.

1.16.2 The maximum weighting of an assessment task in an identified dissertation/thesis/project course of 24 or more units is 100 percent.

1.16.3 The word count for courses of greater value than 12 units is not necessarily increased on a pro rata basis.    

1.16.4 Six unit courses will not normally exceed 3000 words or equivalent, taking all tasks into consideration.

1.17 Request for a variation to these procedures

1.17.1 A request for exemption from any of the above procedures can be made only on the basis of pedagogically sound arguments and/or evidence of external professional accreditation requirements.

1.17.2 A request for an exemption is approved by the relevant Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and reported to the next meeting of the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

Part B: Feedback and Marking

2. Feedback

2.1 Content of the feedback

2.1.1 Feedback on summative assessment tasks will include:

a) an explanation of student performance in relation to the assessment criteria and the standards to which each is met;

b) summary comments, including how students could improve their performance; and

c) result for the task in response to stated assessment criteria.

2.1.2 Feedback on formative assessment tasks will include information that helps a student progress from their current practice to more effectively achieve the learning goals of the course.

2.1.3 Students should receive formal feedback on all summative assessment. Formal feedback on final examinations is only required to be provided on the request of the student.

2.1.4 The result a student receives for an assessment task is provided to the student in a numeric form, except for courses using limited grades. Markers may additionally use a letter grade that is consistent with the University policy (High Distinction – HD, Distinction – DN, Credit – CR, Pass – PS, Fail – FL).

2.2 Timing of feedback

2.2.1 When an assessment task is intended to improve subsequent student performance within the course, feedback will be provided in time to be useful to students for subsequent assessment in the course, provided that the assessment task was submitted by the due date.

2.2.2 Where ongoing activities are being assessed, for example in work integrated learning courses, feedback will be timed to allow the students an appropriate period in which to improve their performance, normally by the mid-point of the assessment or placement.

2.2.3 Feedback on assessment tasks will normally be provided within ten working days and must be provided within fifteen working days from the date the assessment task was due for submission.

3. Marking

3.1 Making judgements about student performance

Results for all assessment tasks and the overall grade for a course are decided only by reference to predetermined criteria and standards. Results are neither determined by the comparative performance of other students in the course nor allocated to fit a predetermined distribution.

3.2 Appropriate markers

Where academic judgement is required to assess, the marker must have an appropriate level of discipline knowledge and assessment capacity, understanding of the course and the tasks’ role within it, and an understanding of the University’s policies and procedures relating to assessment.

3.3 It is the responsibility of the Course Coordinator to ensure that persons appointed as markers satisfy these requirements.

3.4 Conflict of interest

3.4.1 Staff who mark assessment tasks have a responsibility to assess student work fairly, objectively and consistently for all students enrolled in a course.

3.4.2 An academic staff member involved in assessing a student who is a relative, family or personal friend must disclose the relationship as this may create an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

3.4.3 The staff member must disclose the actual or perceived conflict of interest to their Head of School as soon as is reasonably practicable after becoming aware of it. Conflict of interest disclosures will be recorded and managed by the Head of School. Heads of School, when notified of a conflict of interest, will deal promptly with the conflict and will implement an appropriate procedure to manage the conflict of interest in accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct – Governing Policy.

3.5 Marking non-replicable assessment tasks

3.5.1 When students are required to complete a substantial assessment task, that cannot be preserved or replicated, for example an making an oral presentation or organising an event, the assessment task should be either video recorded or assessed in real time by more than one marker.

3.5.2 Work integrated learning placements are exempt from this clause. Refer to the Work Integrated Learning - Academic Policy.

3.6 Negative marking

Negative marking, in which a result less than zero is allocated to any part of any component, is not permitted.

Part C: Administration of assessment

4. Notification of assessment requirements

4.1 The Course Outline must include the following for each assessment task:

In the assessment table:

Name and number of the task

Individual or Group

Weighting (normally expressed as a percentage; not required for limited grade courses)

Duration / length

Due date

Method of submission (only one method is permissible for each assessment item).

The assessment as identified in the Course Outline is that required to be undertaken by an enrolled student, unless a variation as identified under 4.6 has been approved.

4.2 In each task description:

Goal: The goal of the task should explain why a student is doing the task and its purpose in the learning.

Product: The product is the type of text a student will create, eg. scientific report, essay, debate, poster, interpretive dance, monologue, research paper, journal article, critique of policy.

Format: The format details how the product is to be presented, what the context is, what the student’s role is or who the anticipated audience is. It should also explain whether it is a group or individual task, the mode, the medium and the length/duration of the task.

Criteria: The criteria are the elements that the assessor will focus on when making a judgement about the task. As each task is designed to assess how well the student has achieved the relevant learning outcomes, the criteria should reflect the language in the learning outcomes and the demands of the task.

Generic skills: The specific generic skills assessed within the task and the level at which they are deployed (introductory, developing, graduate) should be identified for each task.

4.3 Additional information, such as details of the task process, specific topics for individual assessment tasks, criterion-referenced assessment rubrics or any other grading tool must be provided through the Learning Management System (Blackboard). Assessment tasks that students should not have prior access to, such as unseen examination essay topics, are exempt from this requirement.

4.4 The Course Outline should also contain any additional information and a statement on penalties associated with the assessment in the course. Any penalties must be consistent with USC policy and procedures.

4.5 A submission date may be extended by the Course Coordinator. Any extension to the submission date for an assessment task must be communicated to all students through an appropriate combination of communication channels which could include: class announcements, social media, email and use of the Learning Management System (Blackboard).

4.6 Any changes made after the Course Outline has been made available to students should be in exceptional circumstances only, and must be approved by the relevant Head of School on the advice of the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching). All changes must be communicated to students through an appropriate combination of communication channels which could include: class announcements, social media, email and use of the Learning Management System (Blackboard).

4.7 Submission of assessment tasks

4.7.1 The required method of submitting of assessment tasks is identified in the Course Outline. Only a single submission method is required per task. Where the assessment task can be submitted electronically, this is through the Learning Management System (Blackboard) or the ePortfolio (Pebblepad).

4.8 Penalties for late submission of assessment tasks

4.8.1 The University provides for the Course Coordinator to apply a range of penalties for late submission of an assessment task. The penalties range from no penalty to the maximum identified in 4.8.2. In all cases the penalties for late submission of an assessment task must be applied consistently across all enrolled students and be identified in the approved Course Outline.

4.8.2 Late submission of assessment tasks will be penalised at the following maximum rate:

  • Five percent (of the assessment task’s identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task
  • 10 percent (of the assessment task’s identified value) for the third day
  • 20 percent (of the assessment task’s identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task.

A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task.

Days Late Total Percent Deducted
1 5%
2 10%
3 20%
4 40%
5 60%
6 80%
7 100%

4.8.3 Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late.

4.8.4 If more severe penalties for late submission than those identified in these procedures are required, a request for a variation including a justification can be made to the relevant Faculty’s Learning and Teaching Committee prior to the course being offered.

4.9 Exemption from penalties for late submission of assessment tasks

The following are accepted as grounds for applying for an exemption from penalties for late submission of assessment tasks and must be accompanied by relevant independent supporting documentation:

a) illness or serious health problem

b) serious personal trauma

c) service with a recognised emergency management service

d) religious or cultural grounds; or

e) exceptional family, work or personal circumstances which are outside of the control of the student.

4.9.1 The student must follow a process identified by the relevant Faculty that requires the provision of documented, independent evidence of the nature of the circumstances for which they are applying for the exemption.

4.10 Renegotiation of assessment due dates

4.10.1 When a student has foreknowledge that he/she will be unable to meet the published assessment due date for example in the following circumstances:

a) a medical procedure

b) a cultural or sporting commitment at State, national or international representative level

c) jury duty

d) Defence Forces Reserve commitments,

The student must follow a process identified by the relevant Faculty that requires the provision of documented evidence in support of the request for alternate due dates for the assessment items(s).

4.10.3 Depending of the nature of the assessment item, the request may result in a change to the due dates, either earlier or later, or the student being required to undertake an alternative assessment task (4.11).

4.11 Alternative assessment tasks

An alternative assessment task may be set when circumstances prevent a student from completing an assessment task and it is not feasible to re-create the required circumstances for that assessment task. A Course Coordinator may then vary the details of that assessment task provided that the alternative enables an equitable assessment to be made and does not compromise an essential requirement of the course.

4.12 Variation to assessment for students with disabilities

4.12.1 Adjustments and variations for a student on the basis of disability are made in accordance with the University’s Students with a Disability - Managerial Policy.

4.12.2 A student who has suffered a temporary disability or traumatic event that will affect their ability to perform in a number of assessment tasks across the teaching period should contact the Disability Services Officer, Student Wellbeing to organise an assessment of their level of functional disadvantage.

4.12.3 On the basis of an assessment of the student’s functional disadvantage and with the permission of the student, Student Wellbeing will recommend ‘Academic Accommodations’ to the Course Coordinator/s for that student. If the Course Coordinator considers that the proposed academic accommodations will compromise an essential requirement of their course they should immediately contact the Disability Services Officer, Student Wellbeing.

4.12.4 Any special arrangements for students with disabilities relating to central examinations are handled by Student Services and Engagement.

4.13 Resubmission of an assessment task

At the discretion of the Course Coordinator, students who have failed an assessment task may be invited or permitted to revise and re-submit a specific assessment task for marking. This is not available if the assessment items is a final examination or for WIL activity in a Limited Grade course. In courses with standard grading, the maximum result that can be attained under such circumstances is 50 percent of the value of the assessment task. In courses with limited grading, the resubmitted task can be assessed as pass or fail.

4.14 Supplementary assessment

Supplementary assessment must be offered to a student who has achieved a final grade for a course in the range of 47 percent to 49.4 percent. This is not available in courses with Limited Grades. Refer to the Supplementary Assessment - Procedures.

4.15 Lost, stolen or damaged assessment tasks

To minimise the impact of lost, stolen or damaged assessment tasks when hard copies are submitted, students must keep a copy or record of all assessment tasks. Students should be able to present a copy of the task if required.

4.16 Aggregation of results

4.16.1 A student’s final mark in a course will be the aggregate of the results from all assessment tasks according to the percentage weighting of the assessment tasks, leading to the award of a grade except in the case of limited grade courses.

4.16.2 For limited grade courses, a student’s final result will be determined by their success or otherwise in passing the assessment tasks as detailed in the course outline.

4.17 Release of results to students

Students’ results for each task will be released to them via the Grade Centre of the Learning Management System (Blackboard) once the task has been moderated and within the time parameters set out in 2.2 of these procedures.

4.18 Transfer of results across enrolments

The ‘carrying over’ of a result from an assessment task undertaken during a previous enrolment in a course to a subsequent enrolment in the same course is not permitted.

Part D: Assuring Standards

5. Assuring Grade Standards

5.1 Assuring grade standards has three processes:




A course goes through all three processes each time it is offered.

5.2 Moderation

Moderation is a rigorous quality review and assurance process to confirm the task’s fitness for purpose and the validity, reliability and fairness of the outcome that ultimately ensures academic standards are met.

5.3 Appointment of moderators

5.3.1 A moderator is appointed for each course by the Head of School (or nominee) prior to the commencement of the teaching session. The moderator’s role is to review and endorse the planned assessment scheme prior to the course’s commencement and to verify that the assessment scheme took place as planned and that the results, final marks and grades allocated to students are correct.

5.3.2 The person identified for this role must have a combination of discipline knowledge and assessment competency so that they are capable of making judgements about the assessment processes proposed and undertaken.

5.4 Forms of moderation

5.4.1 The University requires three forms of moderation:

a) Pre-assessment moderation: assures the quality of specific assessment elements not previously approved through the Course Outline approval process before they are used for assessment (for example, specific topics for an essay, exam questions)

b) Point of assessment moderation: ensures that academic standards are being judged correctly, for example by moderating student work to ensure that markers are making consistent and accurate assessment decisions in accordance with the assessment criteria.

c) Post-assessment moderation: confirms that the results awarded for each task and that the student’s final mark and grade for the course overall reflect the performance descriptors in the Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) - Academic Policy.

5.4.2 Pre-assessment moderation

The aim of pre-assessment moderation is to ensure that assessment tasks are fit for their purpose and are likely to provide valid and reliable evidence of student learning and compliant with relevant policies and procedures. Forms of pre-assessment moderation include:

a) All markers become familiar with the marking tools to be used in the course and agree on marking processes;

b) The Course Moderator evaluates examinations for an appropriate match between the exam requirements and duration, the course content and alignment between questions and criteria; and the completeness, clarity and accuracy of the questions or problems;

c) The Course Moderator evaluates assignment questions/topics that have not been previously approved through the Course Outline approval process for their appropriateness for that course including clarity, level of difficulty and alignment among learning outcomes, task and criteria; and/or

d) The course teaching team meets to discuss expectations of particular assessment tasks, to review criterion-referenced rubrics and to mark and discuss a sample paper.

5.5 Point of assessment moderation

5.5.1 The aim of moderation at the point of assessment is to ensure quality of judgements and to confirm correct and consistent application of assessment criteria and standards for all tasks in the course. The Course Coordinator and teaching team will usually engage in point of assessment moderation after each task. For courses where the Course Coordinator is the sole assessor, the Course Moderator will engage in the moderation process with the Course Coordinator.

5.5.2 Point of assessment moderation is an opportunity for a professional dialogue between at least two colleagues about the quality of student work and the application of standards to that work. It usually takes place after an assessment task has been submitted and a sample has been assessed. A number of moderation strategies may be utilised, including:

a) expert moderation: an external person with marking expertise in the discipline area marks and comments on a sample – possibly difficult or borderline cases and provides feedback to the Course Coordinator;

b) blind re-marking: a selection of clean scripts are given to a second marker. Where significant differences between markers are identified, discussion takes place to resolve the differences, identify consensus driven assessment principles and reach agreement;

c) selecting scripts for review: the Course Coordinator marks a small sample and provides it to the Course Moderator for review; a small sample of student work is marked and submitted to the Course Coordinator who moderates it and gives feedback to the teaching team; or

d) consensus moderation: the teaching team meets to review marked samples of student work and reach consensus about the standard of the work and the mark and grade applied to it.

5.5.3 The Course Coordinator also monitors and samples the marking of individual members of the teaching team to establish inter-rater reliability. Individual markers are encouraged to also review a sample of assessments made over several marking sessions to ensure intra-rater reliability.

5.5.4 Moderation must occur before the task results are released to students.

5.5.5 All task results must be recorded in the Grade Centre of the Learning Management System (Blackboard).

5.5.6 Multiple-choice and short answer examinations do not need to be moderated at the point of assessment.

5.6 Post-assessment moderation

5.6.1 For post-assessment moderation, when the Course Moderator and Course Coordinator are satisfied with the moderation process of all tasks within the course, it is complete and the results, final mark and grade move into the verification stage of the process.

5.6.2 For post-assessment moderation, when a Course Coordinator and a Course Moderator do not agree, the relevant Head of School is consulted. The Head of School determines the action, if any, that the Course Coordinator is required to take and informs both parties of that decision.

5.6.3 When post-assessment moderation indicates a problem with the marking of tasks/s, an investigation is initiated as soon as possible to establish whether a problem exists. If a problem has occurred that affects student grades, then corrections must be undertaken as soon as possible under the direction of the Chair of the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting (FARM), usually the Executive Dean or equivalent, or their nominee.

5.6.4 Results and final marks for all courses must be uploaded to the Grade Centre within the University’s Learning Management System (Blackboard) with the exception of the following types of courses for which the verification and ratification processes are completed manually:

Study Abroad Program

Honours Dissertation

Progressive Courses (non-examinable components)

Fee for service/short courses

5.7 Issues arising out of moderation

5.7.1 When moderation indicates a problem with the marking of tasks/s, an investigation is initiated by the Head of School (or nominee) as soon as possible to establish whether a problem exists.

5.7.2 When post-assessment moderation identifies that a problem has occurred that affects student grades, then corrections must be undertaken as soon as possible under the direction of the Chair of the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting (FARM).

5.8 Verification

5.8.1 Once all moderation tasks are completed, the Course Coordinator and the Course Moderator engage in the process of verification. In this process, the Course Coordinator and the Course Moderator verify that the assessment tasks were undertaken as advised in the Course Outline and that the moderation process has been completed.

5.8.2 Both parties use the Interim Results Module, verify the results, final mark and grade for each student. The Course Coordinator determines students’ eligibility for supplementary assessment based on the student’s final mark for the course (see Supplementary Assessment procedures) and notes this for ratification at the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting (FARM).

5.8.3 The Course Coordinator provides a commentary on the moderation process undertaken and the grades awarded in that instance of the course in relation to previous instances. A commentary on the outcomes for the student cohort is also required if there are 20 students or more in the course. The course moderator also has the opportunity to comment.

5.9 Ratification

Ratification is the final process in which the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting confirms that the results, final mark and grades moderated, verified and submitted have met the grade requirements of the University’s policies.

5.10 Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting (FARM)

5.10.1 A Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting is convened in each Faculty at the conclusion of each teaching period.

5.10.2 The Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting consists of the following membership:

Executive Dean or equivalent, or their nominee (chair)

Heads of School

Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching or equivalent

In attendance:

Director, Student Services and Engagement or nominee

Faculty Grades Officer or equivalent (secretary)

5.10.3 Individual Course Coordinators must make themselves available for consultation by phone during the meeting. If the Course Coordinator is unavailable, either a delegate is nominated, or notes on the student cases to be considered are provided to the relevant Head of School prior to the meeting.

5.10.4 The Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting will make recommendations on the following matters:

  • the grades or grade notations for all students undertaking a course under the FARM’s responsibilities;
  • in exceptional circumstances, and following consultation with the relevant Head of School and Course Coordinator, it may recommend a variation in the final marks initially lodged for the course.

5.10.5   In making a determination on grades, the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting:

  • ratifies the Course Coordinator’s decisions on students’ results, final mark and grades, including those eligible for supplementary assessment.
  • provides the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee, via the Executive Dean, with a summary of the final results and grades, moderation, verification and ratification process for the teaching period. The report should also include comparative data with course performance in comparison to the previous teaching period.

5.10.6 Verification and Ratification are processed through the Interim Results Module.

6. Submission and Approval of result, final marks and grades

The Executive Dean has the final responsibility to approve the grades in courses offered in their Faculty. This authority to approve grades may be delegated to another person or body. This delegation is normally to the chair of the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting.

6.1 Final mark process

6.1.1 The Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting recommends to the Executive Dean the final marks, grades and grade notations for all students enrolled in the relevant courses. Once ratified by the Executive Dean, the final marks are submitted to Student Services and Engagement via the Interim Results Module.

6.1.2 The Executive Dean may, in exceptional circumstances, determine a grade of a student which is different from that recommended by the Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting or the Course Coordinator. The determination should occur after consultation with the Chair, Faculty Assessment Ratification Meeting and the Course Coordinator (or delegate). Where the Executive Dean is also the Course Coordinator, the decision will be delegated to another appropriate senior academic staff member.

6.1.3 Following the release of final marks and grades, the Executive Dean (or delegate) is responsible for advising Student Services and Engagement of any amendments to final marks/grades previously submitted.

6.1.4 Final marks for each teaching period must be finalised and submitted to Student Services and Engagement via the Interim Results Module by the date specified by the Director, Student Services and Engagement. Any unfinalised results (GP, IN) must be finalised as soon as practicable however no later than 6 weeks after the release of grades date for the teaching period in which the course is offered.

6.1.5 Student Services and Engagement will notify student of their final marks and grades on behalf of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor by the due date.


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