Review of Assessment and Final Grade - Procedures - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Review of Assessment and Final Grade - Procedures

1. Purpose and application of these procedures

1.1 A student enrolled in a coursework program may formally request a review of their assessment tasks and/or their final mark or grade for a course (excluding bachelor honours research projects), provided there are academic or procedural grounds for the request. These procedures set out valid grounds for review, and the process for seeking such a review.

1.2 These procedures also set out the process for special consideration requests including valid grounds.

1.3 If a review is granted, the result awarded from that review will stand as the final result for the work, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the result originally awarded.

2. Scope and application

2.1 This policy applies to all staff, students and members of University decision-making or advisory bodies.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of terms for policy and procedures.

4. Grounds for review of an individual assessment task, final mark or grade

4.1 Valid grounds for seeking a review: the student can provide evidence of disadvantage in one or more of the following ways:

(a) a piece of work handed in on time was not marked;

(b) feedback on assessed work was not provided within fifteen business days;

(c) alleged wrong advice from staff teaching the course (e.g., about the content of the examination or approval of an extension for an assignment);

(d) the result/final mark/grade was not based on the assessment criteria or assessment process specified in the Course Outline, or any subsequent amendment made in accordance with the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Procedures;

(e) the assessment did not comply with the requirements of the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Procedures and the course was not exempt;

(f) alleged discrimination, prejudice or bias on the part of the assessor or any other person involved in determining the result awarded. This allegation must be supported by specific examples; and

(g) in exceptional circumstances, other grounds (except those in the list of not valid grounds) will be considered if the Head of School (or the Deputy Head, Learning and Teaching) accepts these as reasonable.

4.2 The following are not valid grounds for a review:

(a) challenges to:

(i) the specified learning outcomes of the course;

(ii) the assessment methods approved for the course;

(iii) the standard required to receive particular grades in the course;

(b) a study overload;

(c) personal and medical problems other than those permitted on the basis of special consideration;

(d) financial implications of not passing the course;

(e) marks or grades received by other students in the course;

(f) marks or grades received by the student in other courses;

(g) lack of language proficiency;

(h) the amount of work the student has done;

(i) a penalty imposed on a student for academic misconduct or plagiarism in accordance with University policies and procedures; or

(j) the need for additional marks to achieve a higher grade.

5. Incorrect addition of results

5.1 Where a student identifies that the result recorded for an assessment task or the final mark for a course have not been correctly calculated then this should be brought to the attention of the Course Coordinator - refer to the Assessment: Courses and Coursework - Procedures.

6. Process for a review of an assessment result other than a final mark/grade

6.1 Where a student considers that an individual assessment task has been unfairly or inappropriately assessed, the student shall follow the process below, taking step (a) within five (5) business days of notification of the result in that assessment task:

(a) contact the assessor to request a review of the assessment task outlining the grounds for seeking a review; and

(b) if the matter is not resolved then, the student/s should refer the matter to the Course Coordinator, if that person is a different person to the lecturer, and/or to the Program Coordinator.

6.2 If dissatisfied with the outcome of the above actions the student may, upon receipt of the final mark/grade for that course, seek a review of the final grade.

6.3 Re-mark of individual assessment tasks

6.3.1 Reviews of a result for an assessment may involve a re-mark of an assessment task.

6.3.2 When a student is granted a re-mark, they should provide a clean copy of the assessment task to the School where applicable. The student will also submit the original marked assessment task. A person familiar with the content area, but who has not sighted the previously marked assessment task should perform the re-mark, using the clean copy and without access to the original marked assessment task.

7. Process for review of a final mark/grade

7.1 Where a student considers that the final mark/grade awarded for a course has been unfairly or inappropriately determined, in line with the Grounds for Review set out in Section 4 above, they should submit an Application for a review of final grade form, available on the USC website or from Student Central. This should state the grounds for the review and should be submitted within ten (10) business days of the date of the release of grades.

7.2 On receipt of a request for a review of a final mark/grade, the Head of School (or the Deputy Head (Learning and Teaching)) can:

(a) reject the review on the basis that the grounds for the review are invalid;

(b) determine that any action taken previously was appropriate and the student's case has already been properly answered; or

(c) determine that grounds exist for a review and choose to:

(i) amend the result; or

(ii) arrange a remark; or

(ii) require the student to complete additional assessment to determine how well a student can demonstrate the learning outcomes of a course.

7.2.1 In cases where the Head of School (or the Deputy Head (Learning and Teaching)) determines that additional assessment is required, the interim notations of Alternative Exam (AE) and Alternative Assessment – other (AO) are applied. Heads of School are not obliged to offer students an opportunity to ‘re-sit’ a central examination, but instead have the discretion to use other assessment methods, including an oral examination.

7.3 A determination on the review should be completed as per the Student Review and Appeals - Procedures.

7.4 Applications submitted prior to release of final grades

7.4.1 In exceptional circumstances, a student may be identified for MAP Stage 2 or MAP Stage 3 status prior to the release of final grades, under the Monitoring Academic Progress – Procedures (for example, where a work integrated learning (WIL) placement has been terminated early). The student will be given formal advice as soon as possible whether it is the University’s intention to record a failing grade or a withdrawn final notation for the relevant course(s) and the student may seek a review of the notified intended grade without waiting for the official release of grades for the relevant teaching period.

7.5 Reviews concurrent to MAP Stage 3 Consideration for Exclusion (show cause)

7.5.1 Where a student’s final grade for a course (or courses) results in the student meeting the criteria for MAP Stage 3 Consideration for Exclusion, as set out in the Monitoring Academic Progress – Procedures, a student can seek a review of final grade for the course(s) as part of their response to the Show Cause notice. The grounds for review set out in Section 4.1 of these procedures, as well as the grounds for ‘special consideration’ set out in Section 4.3 of these procedures, will apply in such cases.

7.6 Notification and actions following a review of a final mark/grade

7.6.1 The Head of School (or the Deputy Head, Learning and Teaching) will advise Student Services and Engagement of their decision, who in turn will advise the student in writing of the outcome of a review. Where a review is declined the reasons for this decision must be provided to the student, along with appeal information.

7.6.2 If the grounds for a review are upheld and it is considered that the circumstances may have disadvantaged other students within the course, then the Head of School (or the Deputy Head, Learning and Teaching) should determine whether any further action in respect of these students is required.

7.6.3 Where a final mark/grade is amended the Head of School (or the Deputy Head, Learning and Teaching) should complete the Change of Grade process in the Interim Results Module (IRM) and submit this to Student Services and Engagement.

8 Special consideration requests

8.1 A student may submit a special consideration request where they can demonstrate that their performance in a completed assessment task or tasks (including exams) had been disadvantaged by exceptional circumstances beyond their control and where there is evidence that the mark achieved for this assessment item has been impacted. The submission must include independent evidence (see below for examples).

8.2 These circumstances include:

(a) death or serious illness of a close family member;

(b) an unexpected illness;

(c) significant personal trauma;

(d) a re-occurrence of a chronic illness;

(e) a severe disruption to domestic arrangements;

(f) being a victim of crime; and

(g) an accident.

8.3 If a student has already had an extension for the submission of the assessment task or alternative arrangements made to the assessment due to the above criteria or due to an existing illness or disability, the same grounds cannot be used to request special consideration unless they can demonstrate it is compounded by an unexpected and exceptional change in the circumstances or is an additional circumstance.

8.4 The relevant Head of School (or the relevant Deputy Head (Learning and Teaching)) will decide to:

(a) not approve;

(b) approve and adjust the marks based on other assessment already completed (which may not always result in a change of grade); or

(c) approve and require the student to complete additional assessment to demonstrate their understanding of the learning outcomes of a course through:

(i) an alternative assessment task – which provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate learning outcomes like those related to the original assessment task (e.g., an oral exam may take the place of a written exam); or

(ii) a replacement assessment task – which resembles as closely as possible the original assessment item and carries the same percentage of total weighting for the course.

8.5 In cases where the relevant Head of School (or the relevant Deputy Head (Learning and Teaching)) determines that additional assessment is required, the interim notations of Alternative Exam (AE) and Alternative Assessment – other (AO) are applied.

8.6 Examples of independent evidence include:

Grounds

Suggested Supporting Documentation

(a) death or serious illness of a close family member

Attendance at a funeral of a family member or close friend

at least one of the following documents:

a Statuary declaration & an obituary, funeral notice or funeral program; or

written verification from a USC counsellor.

Death of family member or close friend

at least one of the following documents:

written evidence of the situation such as an obituary, funeral notice, or hospital/medical certificate;

a Death Certificate;

Statutory declaration; or

written verification from a USC counsellor.

(b) an unexpected illness

A completed USC Medical Certificate form from a registered Medical Practitioner.

(c) significant personal trauma

at least one of the following documents:

A completed USC Medical Certificate form from a registered Medical Practitioner accompanied by relevant supporting documentation, or

Written verification from a USC counsellor.

(d) a re-occurrence of a chronic illness

A completed USC Medical Certificate form from a registered Medical Practitioner.

(e) a severe disruption to domestic arrangements

Unexpected primary carer responsibilities

at least one of the following documents:

a completed USC Medical Certificate form indicating the student’s primary carer responsibilities;

a statutory declaration indicating how primary carer responsibilities have impacted the student’s ability to study accompanied by relevant supporting documents; or

or written verification from a USC counsellor.

Domestic or family violence

at least one of the following documents:

a completed USC Medical Certificate; or

written verification from a counsellor; or

police report.

(f) being a victim of crime

at least one of the following documents:

Police report;

Safer Community Unit report; or

written verification from a USC counsellor.

(g) an accident

Natural disaster

at least one of the following documents:

a statutory declaration and a copy of a public record such as a weather report or media coverage; or

or written verification from a USC counsellor.

Road accident

at least one of the following documents:

a completed USC Medical Certificate; or

police report.

9. Status of a student awaiting the outcome of a review or special consideration

9.1 The University will make determinations on reviews and special considerations as soon as practicable however, some cases may not be resolved before teaching commences for the next teaching period.

9.2 A student waiting for the outcome of a review or special consideration which may impact upon the requisite requirements for a course in the following teaching period must consult the Program Coordinator and/or Program Advisor. Students should be formally enrolled in any courses they commence.

9.3 If, following the outcome of the review or special consideration, a student is required to withdraw from a course after the census date, the School should advise the Academic Registrar and Director, Student Services, who will determine whether a retrospective withdrawal and removal of financial liability is applicable.

10. Mechanisms for appeal

10.1 If a student is dissatisfied with the decision following an application for a review of final mark/grade, they may exercise their right to appeal (Step 3) under the provisions of the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy and Student Review and Appeals - Procedures.

10.2 In cases where a review of final grade is considered concurrently with a student’s show cause response, as indicated above, students submit only one appeal, which will address both matters.

10.3 If a student is dissatisfied with the decision following an application of special consideration, they may exercise their right to raise a grievance of an administrative decision in relation to the delivery of a course under the Student Grievance Resolution – Governing Policy and Student Grievances – Procedures.

11. Records management

11.1 Effective recordkeeping and records management is implemented in relation to all assessment, including review of assessment, in line with the Information Management Framework – Governing Policy and associated procedures. Reviews should be documented, with all parties keeping relevant and complete records.

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