Assessment (Higher Education Courses) Procedure

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this policy to the document author - refer to the Status and Details on the pale grey navigation bar above.

Section 2 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 12 August 2008, incorporates all amendments to 24 February 2015, which became effective from Trimester 1, 2015.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Assessment (Higher Education Courses) Policy and incorporates the following schedules:

  1. Schedule A: Grading Schema for Assessment in Higher Education Courses
  2. Schedule B: Approved Methods for Ensuring Comparability of Assessment
  3. Schedule C: Standards for Administering Unsupervised Online Tests which are Automatically Computer-Marked

Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure governs assessment in undergraduate and postgraduate award courses other than higher degrees by research.

Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to assessment in undergraduate and postgraduate award courses other than higher degrees by research (see Higher Degrees by Research Assessment Procedure).

Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Assessment (Higher Education Courses) Policy.

Section 5 - Procedure

Assessment

(6) Assessment tasks for each unit are determined by the assessment panel and are subject to approval by the relevant Faculty Board.

(7) The assessment panel ensures that there are at least two summative assessment tasks for a unit and that these occur across the study period.

(8) Before the commencement of each unit offering, the Unit Chair is responsible for determining the standard of performance required in each assessment task in the unit, taking account of the level of the unit, the standard used in previous offerings of the same unit and the need to ensure comparability of assessment.

(9) The following weighting patterns for summative assessment apply to all units unless exemptions are approved by the Faculty Board:

  1. with the exception of theses and units worth two or more credit points, the maximum weighting of any assessment task, including examinations, is 60% of the mark for the unit
  2. the maximum weighting for the collective component of a group assessment is 50% of the mark for the unit
  3. the total maximum weighting of any unsupervised tests which are administered online and automatically computer-marked is 20% of the mark for the unit; administration of those tests is carried out in accordance with the standards set out in Schedule C.

(10) Assessment tasks, including examination papers, must not be repeated in subsequent offerings of a unit in a way that compromises academic integrity.

(11) When an assessment task allows students to choose from different questions or topics, the standard and degree of difficulty of the alternatives should be the same as far as is reasonably practicable.

(12) As part of the continuous quality improvement process, the means of assessment for a unit are reviewed during the major course review process that occurs in accordance with the Higher Education Courses Approval and Review Procedure.

Hurdle Requirements

(13) Hurdle requirements proposed by an assessment panel are subject to approval by the Faculty Board.

(14) The Faculty Board ensures that any hurdle requirements are clearly linked with the course learning outcomes and standards, and explained in the course and unit guides.

(15) Students who fail a hurdle requirement are ineligible for a pass conceded grade for that unit and will receive a result of no more than 44% for that unit, unless the hurdle requirement is waived in accordance with clause 51.

Communication and feedback to students

(16) To ensure that feedback to students is meaningful and formative, it must be clearly linked to the assessment criteria and must be aimed at assisting learning, rewarding achievement, providing encouragement, explaining results and enabling students to improve their understanding and performance.

(17) Unit Chairs are responsible for ensuring that:

  1. the purposes, processes, requirements and standards of assessment in a unit are clearly communicated to students at the beginning of and throughout each study period
  2. unit guides include:
    1. clearly articulated assessment criteria for any assessment task that requires the exercise of academic judgment
    2. the links between each assessment task, the Unit Learning Outcomes and the Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes
    3. due dates and other requirements for assessment tasks
    4. any provision for negotiation of assessment tasks (e.g. allowing students to nominate topics) and a clear statement on the negotiation process
    5. rules on submission, including extensions, penalties for late submission and final submission date
    6. details of hurdle requirements, if any
    7. the period of time within which feedback will be provided on assessment.

(18) Students should receive feedback on assessment tasks in time to benefit them in preparing for the next assessment task. Students who submit their work by the original due date should normally be provided with feedback within 15 working days.

(19) Information published in the University Handbook must include a list of assessment tasks for each unit, the percentage each task contributes towards the unit result and, where applicable, any hurdle requirements. Additional details about assessment are provided in unit guides.

(20) Assessment arrangements for a unit may only be changed part way through a study period in exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of the Faculty Board or the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or nominee, in accordance with sections 3.3 and 3.4(c) of Regulation 5.3(1).

Examinations

(21) Examinations are designed as assessment tasks where the identity of the student and their sole contribution to the task are authenticated. Examinations may be written, computer-based, oral, practical or by performance.

(22) Examinations will be a minimum of one and a half hours and a maximum of two hours in duration, except where professional accreditation requirements specify otherwise.

(23) Where the assessment task for a unit includes an examination, two papers are prepared for use during the examination period to minimise the risk to exam security. One paper is randomly allocated for use in Australia and the other for use in other time zones. An additional paper may be required to ensure examination security as determined by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Integrity) and for special or supplementary examinations.

(24) Statutory declarations stating that a student will not reveal the contents of an examination must not be used as an alternative to the above.

(25) Assessment panels ensure that each different examination is at least 75% different from each of the other examinations set in any one study period.

(26) The Division of Student Administration administers examinations and schedules examinations to ensure wherever possible that examinations in different time zones are held at the same synchronous time or in overlapping periods of synchronous time.

(27) To facilitate anonymous marking, examination instructions specify that students must not provide their name on their examination documentation. The examination supervisors will verify, at the time of an examination, the accuracy of the student identity information entered by students on their relevant examination documentation.

(28) Students are not permitted to remove examination papers from the examination venue.

(29) Past examination papers may be made available at the Unit Chair's discretion.

Assessing student work

(30) For each assessment task in a unit, the assessment panel selects one of the approved methods for ensuring comparability of assessment in Schedule B: Approved Methods for Ensuring Comparability of Assessment. Other methods for ensuring comparability of assessment may only be used with the prior approval of the University Teaching and Learning Committee. The assessment panel informs all relevant staff members of the method the panel has selected

(31) The assessment panel develops a marking rubric for each assessable task where the marking involves an exercise of academic judgement.

(32) To facilitate reliable and consistent judgments about student performance, all staff who assess student work must use the assessment panel's marking rubric and the approved method for ensuring comparability of assessment.

(33) A student may request the Unit Chair to check that their mark for an individual assessment task is correct, or to provide additional feedback on their performance. Students may also apply in writing to the Unit Chair to have work re-marked, where they can demonstrate that it was not initially marked in accordance with the marking criteria.

(34) Where there are academic grounds for re-marking the work, the Unit Chair is responsible for arranging the re-marking and for finalising the student's mark using the same mechanisms as outlined in clause 35c) to 35f).

Re-marking of failed assessment tasks

(35) Before recommending that a student be awarded an overall unit mark between 44% and 49%, assessment panels must ensure that the following process has been undertaken:

  1. All assessment tasks, including examinations, for which that student received a mark of 49% or less must have been marked by a second marker, except as set out in clause 36 below.
  2. One of the two markers must be a member of the assessment panel.
  3. Where the original and second marks differ by 10 percentage points or fewer of the available marks, the final mark received by the student for the assessment task will be the average of the two marks.
  4. Where the original and second marks differ by more than 10 percentage points of the available marks, the assessment task will be marked by a third marker. The final mark for the assessment task will be the median of the three marks, except where the assessment panel determines that one of the markers was not marking according to the agreed standards, in which case the final mark will be the average of the other two marks.
  5. Where one marker was not marking according to the agreed standards, the assessment panel will review the marks that the marker has awarded to other students and arrange any necessary re-marking or mark adjustments.
  6. The same markers must be used for second and third marking in any one assessment task where practicable.

(36) The above process, set out in clause 35, does not have to be undertaken for assessment tasks that:

  1. consisted of a performance, presentation, exhibition or other event where the student's work was transient, OR
  2. the student failed due to the imposition of a late penalty, in which case the calculation of the penalty must be verified by a member of the assessment panel, OR
  3. the student failed due to failure to meet a hurdle condition, in which case the failure to meet the hurdle must be verified by a member of the assessment panel.
Alternative assessment arrangements for students with a disability or health condition

(37) To ensure that all students have a consistent and fair opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes, alternative assessment arrangements may be provided for students with a disability or health condition. In accordance with clause 3.3 of Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses, the Disability Resource Centre liaises with the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) to prepare a Learning Access Plan for the student and to ensure that the assessment is equivalent in academic standard to assessment provided for other students enrolled in the unit.

Rescheduling of assessment tasks

(38) Students must write to their Unit Chair as soon as possible where circumstances outside their control will prevent them from undertaking an assessment task (other than an examination) as scheduled.

(39) Where appropriate, the Unit Chair may grant an extension of up to two weeks or may arrange for the student to undertake the task at a different time.

(40) Extensions will normally only be approved when students apply before the due date and supply appropriate supporting documentation.

(41) The Unit Chair may require evidence of the work completed so far.

(42) Work that is submitted late without an approved extension will be subject to a marking penalty or may not be marked at all.

(43) Where rescheduling is impractical or more than two weeks' extension is requested, the Unit Chair may advise the student to apply for special consideration.

Special consideration

(44) Where circumstances outside his or her control prevent a student from undertaking or completing an assessment task or end-of-unit examination at the scheduled time, the student may apply for special consideration. If granted, special consideration provides an opportunity for a student to take additional time to complete an assessment task or to complete the task at another time.

(45) Applications for special consideration may only be made on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. an acute medical condition that prevented the student from attempting the task
  2. compassionate reasons (such as: the recent death of a close family member; family breakdown; military, jury or emergency service obligations)
  3. hardship/trauma (such as severe disruption to domestic arrangements or impact of crime).

(46) Circumstances within a student's control (such as misreading timetables, exam stress, holidays or family occasions) and minor ailments (such as colds, sleeplessness or gastric upsets) will not be accepted as grounds for special consideration. Religious or faith-based issues are also not in themselves grounds for special consideration, although they may be used to support an application on other, valid grounds as outlined in clause 45.

(47) Applications for special consideration must be submitted via the special consideration website no later than three working days after the due date of the assessment task or the date of the examination. Late applications will only be considered where the student can demonstrate to the Faculty Committee that extenuating circumstances prevented them from lodging the application any earlier.

(48) Current documentary evidence (such as a verifiable statement from a recognised authority or a practitioner registered with a professional body) must accompany the application. This must include an indication of the severity of the circumstances; how they affected the student's ability to study or undertake the assessment task; and the dates on which the student was affected. Documentary evidence that is back-dated and/or based only on information provided by the student will not normally be accepted.

(49) Where the documentary evidence is inadequate, faculties may require students to supply additional information and/or original copies within five working days. Failure to provide the required documentation may result in the withdrawal or rejection of the application for special consideration.

(50) The Faculty Committee assesses the application in consultation with the Unit Chair.

(51) Where a student applies for and is granted special consideration, the Faculty Committee may approve the waiving of a hurdle requirement in exceptional circumstances based on the recommendation of the assessment panel.

(52) There are four possible outcomes of an application for special consideration:

  1. outcome 1: not granted
  2. outcome 2 (for tasks scheduled while teaching is under way): granted - the student should contact the Unit Chair within two working days to arrange a new due date for the assessment task
  3. outcome 3: granted - a special examination, administered by the Division of Student Administration, is provided for the student normally during the next scheduled special examination period (RIE grade - see Appendix A).
  4. outcome 4: granted - a special assessment task, administered by the Faculty, is provided for the student (RIA grade - see Appendix A).

(53) Where a student applies for special consideration and is granted an outcome 3 or 4 after attempting the initial assessment task, that task will not be marked. The student's unit result will be recorded as an RIE (outcome 3) or RIA (outcome 4) until the final result is released following the marking of their special assessment task or special examination.

(54) Additional special consideration in relation to the same task will only be considered once and where extraordinary circumstances (such as hospitalisation) prevent a student from attempting the initial special assessment task or special examination. Written applications including verifiable supporting documentation must be lodged with the Chair, Faculty Committee normally no later than three working days after the initial special task was due to be completed.

(55) Incomplete results must be finalised as soon as possible and normally no later than the end of the next assessment cycle.

Final unit to complete

(56) A student who meets the criteria set out below may be awarded a pass conceded or supplementary assessment where a single failed unit is preventing them from completing their course.

(57) Applications for pass conceded grades and supplementary assessment must be made on the appropriate form and lodged with the Faculty Committee within five working days of the release of results.

Pass conceded

(58) The Faculty Committee may award a pass conceded grade in a unit where all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the student is one credit point short of completing their course
  2. the student has been awarded a mark between 45% and 49% (inclusive) for the unit for which the pass conceded grade is being considered
  3. the student has not failed any hurdle requirement for that unit
  4. the student has not been awarded a pass conceded grade for any other unit in the course or articulated suite of courses
  5. the student has received a fail grade for no more than the number of units specified below for each course type:
    1. two-year undergraduate course: a fail in no more than two other units
    2. three-year undergraduate course: a fail grade in no more than three other units
    3. four- or five-year undergraduate course: a fail grade in no more than four other units
    4. combined courses: a fail grade in no more than two other units in the relevant course - a student is eligible to be considered for a pass conceded grade in each of the component courses
    5. graduate certificate or graduate diploma: a fail grade in no more than one other unit
    6. masters by coursework: a fail grade in no more than two other units.

(59) The Faculty Committee or delegated subcommittee will consider the recommendations of the Course Director when deciding whether to award a pass conceded grade.

Supplementary assessment

(60) The Faculty Committee may determine that a student undertake supplementary assessment for a unit where:

  1. the conditions for awarding a pass conceded have been met, but a pass conceded cannot be awarded due to professional registration or accreditation requirements
  2. the conditions for awarding a pass conceded have not been met, but the student is one credit point short of completing their course and was awarded a mark between 40 and 49% (inclusive) for a unit that they attempted in the last 12 months.

(61) The Faculty Committee may also award supplementary assessment as an outcome of a review of results or where there is other cause for genuine doubt about a student's academic performance in a unit.

(62) Where supplementary assessment is awarded under clause 60, a mark of no more than 50% will be given for the unit.

Finalisation of results

(63) The Unit Chair, on the advice of the assessment panel, recommends a result for each student enrolled in the unit and submits the results to the Division of Student Administration via the student management system. The results submitted are normally determined by accumulating the marks for individual assessment tasks and can only be adjusted by assessment panels with the approval of the Faculty Committee as set out in clause 64.

(64) Faculty Committee's review reports generated by the Division of Student Administration consisting of compilations of data on the results for each unit, and consider result distributions, any adjustments made by the assessment panel and other relevant information. Where the results reports show that marking criteria have not been appropriately set or applied, Faculty Committees may adjust the results, before approving them for release, in one of the following ways:

  1. increasing or decreasing the marks of one or more students or groups of students for one or more assessment tasks
  2. requiring one or more assessment tasks or components of assessment tasks to be re-marked for one or more students or groups of students according to an appropriate standard agreed to by the assessment panel
  3. requiring that an additional assessment task be submitted and marked according to an appropriate standard agreed to by the assessment panel, and replacing that mark for one or more of the original assessment tasks.

(65) Any amendments to results must be submitted to the Division of Student Administration on an amendment to result form, with the approval of the Chair, Faculty Committee or nominee and one of the following staff members recorded:

  1. member of the assessment panel
  2. Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or nominee.

(66) Where the Unit Chair is not one of the approvers of the amendment to result form, the Faculty Committee sends the Unit Chair notification of the amendment. The Faculty Committee must retain the original copy of the amendment to result form, including the approval and any other supporting documentation.

(67) After the date for the official release of results has passed, the approval of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Integrity) must be obtained before submitting late results for a whole unit cohort.

(68) In circumstances where students have been awarded a special or supplementary assessment, results should be resolved and submitted to the Division of Student Administration within 10 working days after the completion of the special examination cycle to which the unit relates.

(69) The date for the finalisation of a student's results may be varied:

  1. pending the outcome of a discipline hearing
  2. pending the outcome of an appeal hearing
  3. for fieldwork, professional experience, practicums and clinical placements which must be scheduled after the completion of the University teaching period.

(70) The Faculty must notify the Division of Student Administration that results have been authorised for release on the specified date.

(71) Results must be consistent with the grading schema set out in Schedule A: Grading Schema for Assessment in Higher Education Courses.

Cross-institutional results

(72) Students who have completed a unit at another institution under an approved cross-institutional enrolment must provide an official academic transcript for that unit to the Division of Student Administration, for recording in the student management system, within two weeks of the result being released by the institution.

Student requests for a review of results

(73) Following the release of results, students may apply to the Faculty Committee for a review of their overall result for a unit, including assessment in any part of the unit, in accordance with clause 4 of Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.

(74) The Faculty Committee will normally only approve an application for a review where the student provides evidence that their work was not marked in accordance with the marking criteria or that there was a misapplication of other relevant University policies or procedures.

(75) Applications must be made within five working days after the official release and publication of the student's results (unless the student can show the Faculty Committee that exceptional circumstances beyond their control have prevented them from lodging the application in time).

(76) The Faculty Committee considers each request for review in consultation with the Unit Chair and determines whether a review of a result is warranted.

(77) Where an application is rejected, the Faculty Committee notifies the student of the outcome and explains the reasons for the decision.

(78) If the Faculty Committee determines that there will be a review of a result, the Committee will be responsible for:

  1. if necessary, appointing an independent marker to assess the student's work, ensuring that, where practicable, a clean copy of the work is provided to the independent marker and the student's name is withheld
  2. determining the final outcome through the process described for the re-marking and verification of fail grades in clause 35 c) to 35 f)
  3. approving a variation as required, or requiring the student to undertake supplementary assessment
  4. informing the student in writing of the outcome of the review, including the reasons for the decision, and updating the appropriate records.

(79) In the case of group assessment tasks, all students' results will be reviewed, and, where appropriate students' results will be reviewed individually.

(80) If, in the process of reviewing a result, it is determined that a systematic error has occurred that has affected the results for multiple students in a unit, the Faculty Committee will take appropriate action to rectify this.

(81) The Committee's decision is final.

Publication of results

(82) Results are published at the end of each study period on the dates specified in the University Handbook. Information about accessing results is available on the current students (results) website. In accordance with section 5.1 of Regulation 5.3(1), the Executive Director, Student Administration under the general direction of the Academic Board, will decide the form in which, and the dates on which, results are to be published.

(83) Final unit results are not made available to students prior to the official publication of results. All marks for individual assessment tasks are provisional until the final unit results have been approved for release by the Faculty Committee.

Storage, security and records management

(84) Faculties and Division of Student Administration staff members are jointly responsible for the security of documentation relating to examinations and other types of assessment tasks.

(85) Faculties ensure that records are retained in accordance with the Information and Records Management Policy, including any supporting documentation for decisions about special consideration applications, mark adjustments made to individual assessment items, amendments to final results and supplementary assessment.

Academic misconduct

(86) Unit Chairs provide students with information on what constitutes academic misconduct at the beginning of a unit.

(87) Students are required to make a declaration when submitting assignments to confirm that the work submitted is their own and that the work has not been submitted for assessment in any other unit or course. In the case of group assessment tasks, each member of the group must make a declaration.

(88) Instances of academic misconduct by students will be dealt with in accordance with Regulation 4.1(2) - Academic Misconduct.

Quality assurance

(89) Assessment is regularly reviewed as an integral and central part of quality assurance processes for courses and units. Faculty Boards, Faculty Committees and assessment panels ensure quality assurance and continuous quality improvement within each Faculty.

(90) The University monitors assessment practices and compliance with relevant procedures in accordance with processes approved by the Academic Board.

(91) The Academic Board ensures the quality of assessment by considering the annual reports from Faculties on assessment outcomes for units and Faculty practices.

Section 6 - Definitions

(92) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Academic Integrity: a commitment by University academic staff members to adhere, in all teaching, research and related activities, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.
  2. Academic Staff: staff of the University employed to undertake teaching, research and/or related academic duties.
  3. Assessment: an evaluation of a student's academic performance in each of the assessment tasks prescribed for a unit (including examinations), by whatever means a Faculty Board has determined. Assessment includes:
    1. Formative Assessment: assessment primarily used to provide feedback on student learning and the effectiveness of teaching, which does not contribute to a student's final grade and/or mark for a unit of study.
    2. Summative Assessment: assessment primarily used to measure the level of a student's success in achieving learning outcomes, which contributes to a student's final grade and/or mark for a unit of study.
  4. Assessment Panel: a panel appointed by a Faculty Board for each unit offered by the Faculty in that study period. Each assessment panel will consist of at least two members of the academic staff of the University, one of whom will be the Unit Chair.
  5. Comparability of Assessment: performance by students enrolled within a unit is assessed to the same standard. Approved methods for ensuring comparability of assessment are included in Schedule B: Approved Methods for Ensuring Comparability of Assessment.
  6. Examination: means a centrally organised, formal, supervised, time-limited, summative assessment task conducted during the official examination period. Examinations are not a compulsory assessment task in every unit, but where conducted, routine feedback will not normally be provided to students.
  7. Faculty Committee: the relevant committee appointed by each Faculty Board to deal with assessment and academic progress matters referred to it under University regulations, in particular Regulation 5.3(1) - Assessment and Academic Progress in Higher Education Award Courses.
  8. Grade: a descriptive indicator of a student's achievement in an assessment task or a unit, awarded by an academic staff member as part of a marking process.
  9. Hurdle requirement: a condition, other than the overall mark, that must be met in order for students to be able to pass a unit.
  10. Learning Access Plan: a document that outlines strategies and adjustments to enable a student with a health condition or disability to work towards achieving the unit learning outcomes.
  11. Mark: a numerical indicator of a student's achievement in an assessment task or a unit, awarded by the academic staff member as part of a marking process.
  12. Marking Rubric: a description of expected levels of performance in the essential criteria associated with an assessment task.
  13. Result: the final grade/mark in a unit awarded to a student based on the assessment for that unit.
  14. Special Assessment: an assessment task undertaken by a student where special consideration has been granted to the student.
  15. Special Consideration: means the process available to students whose performance is temporarily and adversely affected by circumstances outside their control, by which they may apply for approval to take additional time to complete an assessment task or to complete the assessment task at a later time.
  16. Study Period: a defined teaching and study period specified by a Faculty for the completion of units for a particular course.
  17. Supplementary Assessment: additional assessment tasks undertaken by a student in order to make a determination of result, and required of students where there is genuine doubt about their academic performance in a specific unit.
  18. Unit Chair: the person appointed by the Head of School to be responsible for coordinating the curriculum, teaching and assessment in a unit.
  19. University handbook: the official University publication in print, electronic or other form, containing details of courses and related information.