Assessment - in effect from Session 2 2016

Assessment - in effect from Session 2 2016

SUMMARY

The Assessment Policy establishes the principles that underpin the University’s approach to assessment.  Schedules provide more specific information as follows:

  • Schedule 1 Grading Requirements 
  • Schedule 2 Unit Assessment Requirements
  • Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development) 
  • Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements 
  • Schedule 5 Moderation Requirements

POLICY

1          PURPOSE

1.1       The purpose of this Policy is to outline the principles that underpin the University’s approach to assessment.
 
1.2       This Policy should be read in concert with the Schedules/ Procedures/Guidelines, which guide the conduct and management of assessment and grading practices.

2          BACKGROUND

Purpose of Assessment
 
2.1       Assessment serves two equally important purposes. Firstly, assessment is designed to engage students in the learning process and should encourage and support learning. Secondly, at certain points, assessment measures achievement, accredits learning and provides evidence to satisfy measures of quality.
 
2.2       Assessment of student learning performance and feedback on progress are pivotal and important processes in University learning and teaching.
 
2.3       Assessment is an integral part of the learning process for students and strongly influences what and how students learn in their programs.
 
2.4       Well-designed assessment tasks communicate to students what is important and are vehicles by which the University assures itself, and society, of its graduates’ capabilities.
 
2.5       This Policy acknowledges that assessment serves a variety of purposes and that the forms of assessment used throughout the University are diverse, and vary according to the academic discipline. In acknowledgment of this, the Policy aims to provide flexibility to staff and students, whilst ensuring that all assessment meets a common set of minimum standards as outlined in this Policy.  

3          SCOPE

 
3.1       This Policy applies to all program offerings in which Macquarie certifies attainment of learning outcomes.  
 
3.2       It will be relevant to all academic leaders and managers of learning and teaching, all teaching staff, including sessional teachers, and students.

4          DEFINITIONS

 
4.1       Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

Assessment Task: illustrative task or performance opportunity that closely targets defined learning outcomes, allowing students to demonstrate their learning and capabilities.

Assessment (Formative): monitors student progress against agreed standards and provides them with feedback comparing their progress to the standards with a view to helping them to achieve the standards. The goal of formative assessment is to map and monitor learning progress and to provide ongoing feedback to learners and teachers.

Assessment (Summative): is an assessment the result of which is used to determine a final mark or grade. The goal of summative feedback is to document the level of achievement on a task, which contributes to the final mark or grade.  A summative assessment task should also have a formative component through feedback. 
 
Census date: means the date on which a student’s enrolment in a unit of study becomes final.

Examination script: the student’s attempt at the examination paper.

Feedback:  means information provided to both teachers and students on the quality of their performance, in order to improve it. 

Final Examination: an examination held within a specified examination period that is defined by the University and administered centrally by the Registrar’s Office.

Hurdle requirement: an assessment task mandating a minimum level of performance as a condition of passing the unit in which it occurs.

Invigilation: direct in-person supervision on behalf of the University for the entire duration of an assessment task to prevent cheating and to prevent students using aids other than those permitted for that assessment task.

Learning Objectives: the set of knowledge, skills and/or competencies a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate after completion of a learning process; in the AQF these are expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and application.

Learning Outcomes: A statement of what students will be able to do, know, understand or value at the completion of a class, unit or course.

Moderation: Moderation is a quality review and assurance process that occurs at all stages of the assessment lifecycle. It involves using other academics and qualified staff to confirm that the assessment design, tasks and marking are valid and reliable.

Program-based assessment: a holistic, coherent and integrated approach to assessment design and implementation, where students develop and demonstrate their achievement of program learning outcomes.

Program of Study: The minimum sequence of required study which would enable a student to qualify for an award, including both the general requirements of a specific award and the specific requirements of a qualifying major or specialisation where applicable.

Program Teams: includes the program director and individual unit convenors working collegially and collaboratively.

Serious attempt: a serious attempt at an assessment task is one where the student has made an effort to address the set task, but has failed to reach the required standard of performance.  For example, in an examination, students are required to attempt a range of question types throughout the paper; for example, simply attempting multiple-choice questions is not sufficient for an attempt to be considered serious. Responses that contain only frivolous or objectionable material will not be considered serious.

Rubric: A brief outline of the assessment criteria.

Take home examination: A special type of open examination where students are provided with the exam paper and complete it away from the University without the help of others over a set period of time.

5          POLICY STATEMENT

Principles of Assessment

The Assessment Policy is underpinned by seven principles of assessment. All principles apply equally and must be read jointly. 

5.1       Assessment is standards-based
 
5.1.1    Assessment is made by reference to explicit and pre-determined criteria and standards that reflect the learning outcomes and not by reference to the achievement of other students.
 
5.1.2    Clear criteria and performance standards for the assessment of student work are made available to students in the descriptions of the assessment tasks no later than the point at which the task is given.
 
5.1.3    Students will have access to the standards expected and examples of relevant and related assessment tasks.
 
5.1.4    The University will award common result grades as specified in Schedule 1.
 
5.1.5    Decisions regarding grades awarded to students must be based on the attainment (or otherwise) of the pre-determined criteria and standards.
 
5.1.6    Procedures exist to ensure that all staff involved in teaching share a common understanding of assessment practices and criteria. Assessment must be conducted in a way that is consistent with the pre-determined criteria and standards for the task.
 
5.1.7    Moderation will occur at all stages of the assessment lifecycle including unit planning, task design of the assessment regime, standards, pre-marking, post-marking and evaluation in accordance with Schedule 5.  

5.2       Assessment must be fit for purpose, and efficient in its application
 
5.2.1    Assessment items across a program should be sufficient to assess achievement of both program and unit learning outcomes.
 
5.2.2    Assessment tasks must be aligned to learning outcomes and should not address material outside of their scope.
 
5.2.3    Assessment must be designed and implemented so that it allows students to demonstrate the extent to which they attained the assessment standards, while avoiding unnecessary assessment load. This applies both to the work required of staff in setting and assessing student work and in the work required of students to complete the assessment tasks.

5.3        Assessment will be program-based
 
5.3.1    Program teams are responsible for ensuring a program-based approach to assessment. This is a holistic, coherent and integrated approach to assessment design and implementation where students develop and demonstrate their achievement of program learning outcomes.
 
5.3.2    Program design must demonstrate how the scaffolding of assessment tasks across the program ensures that students can achieve the program learning outcomes without unnecessary duplication.
 
5.3.3    Programs must include one or more significant tasks that assist students to consolidate, integrate and synthesise learning across their study, and offer the opportunity for group work.

5.3.4    Assessment tasks may be shared across units in a program or explicitly build on tasks from prior units.  
 
5.3.5    A variety of different types of assessment tasks, such as authentic tasks, will be used and embedded strategically throughout a program of study to develop and demonstrate the achievement of program learning outcomes and graduate capabilities.
 
5.3.6    Assessment workloads, and the timing of assessments across a program, will be considered to ensure they are reasonable and sustainable for students, staff and organisational units.
 
5.3.7    Assessment practices are collaborative and promote continuous improvement. Assessment practices are open and should be shared across disciplines, programs and units.
 
5.3.8    Professional development opportunities related to design, implementation and moderation of assessment will be provided to all staff.

5.4       Students and teachers are responsible partners in learning and assessment

5.4.1    Assessment is designed to engage students in the learning process and should encourage and support learning.  
 
5.4.2    Ongoing opportunities for formative feedback will be built into all units. Examples include formal or informal assessment tasks, peer assessment or other assessment activity.
 
5.4.3    Coursework students must receive some feedback prior to the census date in every session.

5.4.4    Students are responsible for their learning and are expected to:

  •  actively engage with assessment tasks, including carefully reading the guidance provided, understanding criteria, spending sufficient time on the task and submitting work on time;
  • read, reflect and act on feedback provided;
  • actively engage in activities designed to develop assessment literacy, including taking the initiative where appropriate (e.g. seeking clarification or advice, negotiating learning contracts, developing grading criteria and rubrics);
  • provide constructive feedback on assessment processes and tasks through student feedback mechanisms (e.g. student surveys, suggestions for future offerings, student representation on committees);
  • ensure that their work is their own; and
  •  be familiar with University policy and faculty procedures and act in accordance with those policy and procedures.

Responsibilities will be communicated to students during the period of orientation.

5.4.5    Program Directors, Program Teams and Teaching staff are jointly responsible for designing assessment regimes that enable students to demonstrate attainment of unit and program learning outcomes. Staff must:

  • advise students in relation to expectations relevant to specific assessment tasks by providing appropriate guidance, supporting material, standards and rubrics;
  • assess student work fairly, consistently, transparently and in a timely manner;
  • provide timely feedback which enables students to further improve their learning and performance wherever possible;
  • be able to justify student results against the stated criteria; and
  •  be familiar with University policy and faculty procedures and act in accordance with those policy and procedures

 
5.5        Assessment is fair, transparent and equitable

“Fairness in assessment should be considered from at least three perspectives. First, we should consider the fairness of what we ask students to do to demonstrate their learning. Second, we should consider the fairness of our judgements about the quality of students’ performance. Third, we should consider the fairness of the educational decisions we make as a result of these judgements.” Killen 2005: 118.

5.5.1    Assessment regimes must provide all students a fair opportunity to demonstrate their unit and program learning outcomes.
 
5.5.2    Across a program, students will be given a variety of tasks to demonstrate achievement of program learning outcomes.
 
5.5.3    Assessment practices take into account equity and inclusiveness to accommodate the diversity of the student body as required.
 
5.5.4    The process of awarding results in accordance with the standards will be transparent to students, staff and moderators.
 
5.5.5    All assessment tasks must comply with the requirements outlined in Schedule 2.
 
5.5.6    Examination of HDR theses must comply with the requirements outlined in Schedule 3.
 
5.5.7    If a final examination is used it must comply with the requirements outlined in Schedule 4.

5.6        Assessment is valid, aligned and reliable
 
5.6.1    Assessment tasks will be fit for purpose and valid (i.e. assess what they claim to assess).
 
5.6.2    There should be an explicit and logical alignment between learning outcomes, assessment tasks, the task criteria, feedback and the grades associated with different levels or standards of performance.
 
5.6.3    Assessments should also be reliable, that is, they should consistently and accurately measure learning. This involves making judgements about student learning that are based on a shared understanding of standards of learning and should not be dependent on the individual teacher, location or time of assessment.

5.7        Assessment design and implementation promotes academic integrity
 
5.7.1    Academic integrity and honesty will be promoted through careful task design, clear explanations and education, together with appropriate monitoring of academic honesty by academic staff.  
 
5.7.2    To ensure academic integrity, assessment tasks are reviewed regularly, and refreshed and renewed appropriately according to the level of risk.
 
5.7.3    Academic support services will be offered to staff and students to embed a culture of academic honesty.
 
5.7.4    Plagiarism detection software will be used for all text-based electronically submitted summative assessment unless approved otherwise.

6          RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Not applicable

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Supporting Assessment documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Schedule 1 Grading Requirements
Schedule 2 Unit Assessment Requirements
Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development)
Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements
Schedule 5 Moderation Requirements

Other related documents:
Final Examination Procedure
Disruption to Studies Policy / Procedure
Student Disability Support Policy / Procedure
Grade Appeal Policy
Grade Point Calculator
Academic Transcript Request Procedure
Academic Honesty Policy

8          NOTES

8.1
Contact Officer
Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
8.2
Implementation Officer
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching & Associate Deans Quality and Standards
8.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
Academic Senate
8.4
Date Approved
5 April 2016
8.5
Date of Commencement
Beginning of Session 2, 2016
8.6
Date for Review
April 2019
8.7
Documents Superseded by this Policy

Assessment Policy approved 4 October 2011
Grading Policy approved 3 August 2010
Final Examinations Policy approved 5 June 2012

8.8
Amendment History
Nil

SCHEDULE 1 

GRADING REQUIREMENTS

1     PURPOSE

This Schedule supports implementation of the Assessment Policy (in effect from Session 2 2016). 

2     SCHEDULE

2.1       The following grades are common to all coursework units that are offered by or on behalf of Macquarie University. 
 
2.2       The attainment (or otherwise) of learning outcomes for units of study are reported:

Unit convenors may develop criteria and standards for specific assessment tasks, but these must be aligned with the grading descriptors given below.
 
2.3       Grades for all individual assessment tasks will be released to students; it is not essential to also release the mark.
 
2.4       Grading decisions for each assessment task will be moderated against the standards before task results are released.
 
2.5       The method by which the results in individual assessment items are employed to arrive at the final result for a unit will be simple, transparent and communicated to students in their unit guide.
 
2.6       Final grades for the unit must reflect the descriptors given below:

ASSESSMENT GRADES AND STATUS

GRADE

RANGE

STATUS ( ‘Standard Grade’ in AMIS)

DESCRIPTION

HD

85-100

Pass

Provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality, insight or creativity in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application as appropriate to the program.

D

75-84

Pass

Provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality or creativity in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the program and the audience.

CR

65-74

Pass

Provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; convincing argumentation with appropriate coherent justification; communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the program.

P

50-64

Pass

Provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the program; routine argumentation with acceptable justification; communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the program. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.

F

0-49

Fail

Does not provide evidence of attainment of learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking
communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the program.

FH49Fail HurdleStudent has obtained a raw mark over 50, yet failed all available attempts of at least one hurdle assessment (as described within Schedule 2: Unit Assessment Requirements).

Final Grades not receiving a mark

GRADE

RANGE

STATUS

DESCRIPTION

S

No mark

Pass

To be awarded in units of study where student achievement is measured as a pass or fail only without a mark to students who, in their performance in assessment tasks, demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard

F

No mark

Fail

Student has not met the defined standards at an appropriate level within a specified time

FA

 

Did Not Attend

Student has failed the compulsory attendance component of assessment

FW

 

Fail

Awarded when a student withdraws from a unit or units after the Census Date, and when academic and/or financial penalties have been applied

I

 

Grade Not Submitted

Unit is incomplete.  The student has not submitted or completed one or more components of the assessment

IS

 

Grade Not Submitted

Unit is incomplete and supplementary assessment has been granted

K

 

Grade Not Submitted

Enrolment continuing:  the unit is taken over more than one session, and the assessment will be finalised in a later session

UD

 

Grade Not Submitted

Result not finalised.  Student has submitted a request for Disruption, for which the outcome is pending

UJ

 

Grade Not Submitted

Result is finalised, but not yet released, due to an unresolved matter.  <Usually used in cases of allegations of academic misconduct or disciplinary matters>

UL

 

Grade Not Submitted

Result awaited from Unit Convenor <used to indicate ‘late’ grades.  >

UE

 

Grade Not Submitted

Student is undertaking an exchange program; unit result awaited

W

 

Grade Not Submitted

Awarded when a student withdraws from a unit or units after the Census Date, and when academic and/or financial penalties have not been applied

Z

 

Grade Not Submitted 

Indicates a thesis or dissertation has been submitted and is being assessed

GRADE POINT AVERAGE

A Grade Point Average (GPA) is a calculation that reflects the overall grades of a student in a coursework program. It will be calculated on the basis of the units completed at Macquarie University towards the program. It will not take into account credit points granted through RPL or non-award study. The calculation will be based on the following:

GPA scale for students who commence at Macquarie University from 1 January 2017 and onwards
For students who commence at Macquarie University from 1 January 2017, their GPA will be calculated on a 7-point scale as detailed below: 

 

Mark range

 

HD

85-100

7

D

75-84

6

Cr

65-74

5

P

50-64

4

F

0-49

0

GPA calculation for students who commenced their current program of study at Macquarie University after 1 January 2017
GPA = (7v + 6w + 5x + 4y + 0f) divided by e where v is the number of credit points gained at HD, w is the number of credit points gained at D, x is the number of credit points gained at Cr, y is the number of credit points gained at P, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or S), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

GPA calculation for students who commenced their program of study at Macquarie University before 1 January 2017

GPA calculation for grades obtained from 2011 and onwards
GPA = (4w + 3x + 2y + 0f) divided by e where w is the number of credit points gained at HD and D, x is the number of credit points gained at Cr, y is the number of credit points gained at P, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or S), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

Grades obtained from 2001 – 2010
GPA = (4w + 3x + 2y + 1z + 0f) divided by e where w is the number of credit points gained at HD and D, x is the number of credit points gained at Cr, y is the number of credit points gained at P, z is the number of credit points gained at PC, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or S), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

Grades obtained prior to 2001
GPA = (4a + 3b + 2c+ 1cq+ 0f) divided by e where a is the number of credit points gained at A grade, b is the number of credit points gained at B grade, c is the number of credit points gained at C grade, cq is the number of credit points gained at CQ grade, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or P), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Supporting Assessment documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)
Schedule 2 Unit Assessment Requirements
Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development)
Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements
Schedule 5 Moderation Requirements

Other related documents:
Final Examination Procedure

3 NOTES

3.1
Contact Officer
Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2
Implementation Officer
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching & Associate Deans Quality and Standards
3.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
Academic Senate
3.4
Date Approved
5 April 2016
3.5
Date of Commencement
Beginning of Session 2, 2016
3.6
Date for Review
 April 2019
3.7
Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Assessment Policy approved 4 October 2011
Grading Policy approved 3 August 2010
Final Examinations Policy approved 5 June 2012

3.8
Amendment History
6 December 2016: Change Grade from UX to UE (Student is undertaking an exchange program: unit result awaited) and WN to W (Awarded when a student withdraws from a unit or units after the Census Date and when academic and/or financial penalties have not been applied) – approved by Academic Senate Res 16/254.
December 2016: Minor amendment to clarify GPA calculation for students who commenced their program of study after 1 January 2017.
October 2016: Insert Grade FH regarding failed hurdle assessment – Academic Senate Res 16/219.
3.9
Policy Authorisation
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)

SCHEDULE 2 

UNIT ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS

1     PURPOSE

This Schedule supports implementation of the Assessment Policy (in effect from Session 2 2016). 

2     SCHEDULE

1.         Maximum weighting
 
1.1       No single assessment task can be worth more than 60% of the total assessment of the unit unless one of the following exemptions apply:

  • required by an external accrediting body
  • HDR theses and units where a single project forms the assessment. In these cases, detailed formative feedback will be provided throughout the process and, for project units, submission of stages/portions of the project may constitute separate assessment items.

2.         Group work
 
2.1       Group work should encourage peer learning and peer support, and group work tasks should be designed to promote collaboration between group members. Group work should only be assessed where there is a learning outcome pertaining to group work. Assessment may target group processes, product or both, depending on unit learning outcomes.

2.2       Group work will be structured in such a way that all students will be able to demonstrate attainment of all the learning outcomes of the task. It also needs to be structured in a way that individual performance can be measured.

2.3       At least 50% of group work assessment shall be allocated to individual performance.
 
2.4         Staff shall ensure students are prepared and monitor groups to ensure that:

  • the group's progress is satisfactory
  • group members are collaborating effectively and fairly

3.         Hurdle Requirements

3.1       A hurdle requirement is an activity for which a minimum level of performance or participation is a condition of passing the unit in which it occurs.
 
3.2       Hurdle requirements that are not associated with marks/results are still regarded as assessment tasks for the purposes of this policy.
 
3.3       Hurdle requirements:

  • Must be clearly specified in the unit guide including the requirements for performance and / or participation
  • Must be determined on pedagogical grounds
  • Should be used only where it is appropriate to ensure fulfilment of unit and program learning outcomes
  • May be used to meet minimum competency standards or to demonstrate 'fitness to practice' for courses related to professional practice

3.4       In cases where students have made a serious first attempt at a hurdle requirement but have failed to meet it, they must be given one further opportunity to meet that hurdle requirement. 

            For the purposes of this clause, a serious attempt at an assessment task is one where the student has made an effort to address the set task, but has failed to reach the required standard of performance.   For example, in an examination, students are required to attempt a range of question types throughout the paper; for example, simply attempting multiple-choice questions is not sufficient for an attempt to be considered serious. Responses that contain only frivolous or objectionable material will not be considered serious.

3.5       Faculty Boards may grant an exception to clause 3.4 for a particular assessment task on the basis of a sound pedagogical argument.

3.6       A student who has obtained a raw mark over 50, yet failed all available attempts of at least one hurdle assessment as described in this Schedule, fails the unit.

4.         Supplementary Assessment

4.1       Supplementary assessments should be administered in the following circumstances only:

  • the provision of a further opportunity to successfully complete hurdle assessments,
  • as the outcome of a Disruptions to Study notification,
  • as the outcome of a Grade Appeal.

5.         Academic Honesty

5.1       Students are expected to abide by the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

5.2       Text-based work submitted by students for assessment will be subject to plagiarism detection software, such as Turnitin or similar approved software, unless otherwise approved.

5.3       Plagiarism detection methods are to be used on a routine basis to check student work or when plagiarism is suspected.

6.         De-identification

6.1       Consideration must be given to implicit and explicit forms of bias in marking, and employing mechanisms such as the de-identification of scripts where possible and appropriate. 

7.         Electronic submission

7.1       Unless otherwise approved, all text-based assessment tasks will be submitted electronically using the University’s electronic learning management system.

8.         Late submission

8.1       Late submissions will only be permitted when specified in the unit guide. Such specifications must include penalties to be applied to late submissions.              

8.2       Except in cases of an approved disruption to study notification, penalties for late submission of assessment where an extension has not been approved are to be consistently applied across all students enrolled in a coursework unit. 

9.         Retention of student work
 
9.1       All assessments worth 20% or more must be archived for benchmarking, calibration or grade review, for a period of six months unless otherwise approved.

10.       Applications for reasonable adjustments

10.1     Applications for reasonable adjustments will be considered in accordance with the University’s Disability Policy.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Supporting Assessment documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)
Schedule 1 Grading Requirements
Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development)
Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements
Schedule 5 Moderation Requirements

Other related documents:
Final Examination Procedure

3     NOTES

3.1
Contact Officer
Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2
Implementation Officer
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching & Associate Deans Quality and Standards
3.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
Academic Senate
3.4
Date Approved
5 April 2016
3.5
Date of Commencement
Beginning of Session 2, 2016
3.6
Date for Review
 April 2019
3.7
Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Assessment Policy approved 4 October 2011
Grading Policy approved 3 August 2010
Final Examinations Policy approved 5 June 2012

3.8
Amendment History
October 2016: Insert clause 3.6 regarding failed hurdle assessment – Academic Senate Res 16/219.
3.9
Policy Authorisation
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)

SCHEDULE 4

FINAL EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS

1     PURPOSE

This Schedule supports implementation of the Assessment Policy (in effect from Session 2 2016). 

2     SCHEDULE

The Assessment Policy does not prescribe the use of a final examination. Staff are actively encouraged to explore alternative assessment tasks which may provide more appropriate means of determining whether students have met learning outcomes. However, should a final invigilated examination be set, it must be conducted in accordance with this Schedule.

1.         Timetable

1.1       The University will publish the exam timetable of each final examination period a minimum of 4 weeks before the commencement of that period.

1.2       The University will keep available the last day of the final examination period for final examinations that need to be rescheduled.

1.3       Students will be responsible for:

    • checking the final examination timetable
    • knowing the examination location (including seat number allocation) and arriving at allocated examination venue on time.
    • knowing the structure and format of the examination
    • adhering to the final examination timetable
    • ensuring they are available for the full duration of the final examination period and supplementary examination period.

1.4       The University will notify external students of the location of external final examination centres.

2          Duration of Examination

2.1       The maximum duration of a final written examination will normally be two hours per unit (excluding reading time).

2.2       Ten minutes reading time will be allowed at the beginning of each final examination. Students must not commence writing until advised by the supervisor at the conclusion of reading time.

2.3       If the start time of a final examination is delayed for any reason, the concluding time of the examination may only be extended by the amount of the delay.

2.4       If a final examination is disrupted for any reason, the examination may be:

    • continued, with an adjustment made up to the length of the disruption
    • considered completed, with the examination scripts marked
    • abandoned and rescheduled (to the last day of the official final examination period where possible).

3.         Quality Assurance

3.1       Details of the structure and format of the final examination paper will be made available to students prior to the start of the final examination period. This detail will include:

  • a copy of the examination coversheet, giving the conditions under which the examination will be held
  • information on the types of questions the examination will contain, and
  • an indication of the unit content the paper may examine.

3.2       Students should be advised if the style of previous examination papers will not be representative of that of the final examination paper for the current offering.

3.3       If a supplementary examination is required, a different paper must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of 3.1 and 3.2 above.

4.         Conduct

4.1       There will be a Final Examination Supervisor in charge at every final examination. Students must follow directions given by the Final Examination Supervisor.

4.2       The Unit Convenor or appropriate delegate will be contactable by phone for the duration of the final examination.

4.3       Students will be required to present their Macquarie University Campus Card as photographic proof of identity for the duration of the final examination. This must be visible at all times during the examination. In exceptional circumstances, the Final Examination Supervisor may allow alternative photographic proof of identity such as a current Australian driver's licence, a current Australian Proof of Identity card or a current passport.

4.4       Students are not permitted to:

    • enter a final examination venue once one hour from the time of commencement (excluding any reading time) has elapsed
    • leave a final examination venue before one hour from the time of commencement (excluding any reading time) has elapsed
    • leave a final examination venue during the last 15 minutes of the examination
    • be readmitted to a final examination venue unless they were under approved supervision during the full period of their absence
    • obtain, or attempt to obtain, assistance in undertaking or completing the final examination script
    • receive, or attempt to receive, assistance in undertaking or completing the final examination script (Unless an application for reasonable adjustment has been approved)
    • communicate in any way with another student once they have entered the final examination venue

5.         Authorised material in examinations

5.1       It is a student's responsibility to ascertain whether an examination is an open book or closed book examination. This information will be published in the Unit Guide and will be specified on the examination paper.

5.2       In open book examinations, students may bring in hardcopy written reference material, as specified by the unit convenor.

5.3       Aids such as calculators and electronic dictionaries (paper-based or electronic) may only be brought into examinations where their use has been specifically authorised. Unit convenors may specify the type of aid allowed and this information must be published in the unit guide and will be specified on the examination paper. Neither calculators nor dictionaries will be supplied at the examination.

5.4       Where specific materials are required for a particular examination, such as a legal document or a table of data, they will be provided as part of the examination paper.

5.5       Electronic devices (such as computers, tablets, phones) and wallets/purses may be brought into an examination room but must be placed under the student's examination desk throughout the examination. All devices must be switched off.

5.6       All watches must be removed and placed at the top of the examination desk, where they can be seen clearly and easily by supervisors, and must remain there for the duration of the exam.  All alarms, notifications and alerts must be switched off.

5.7       Bottled water is permitted in the examination room but it must be in a clear and unmarked bottle.

6          Unauthorised material in examinations

6.1       Materials other than the authorised materials described above must not be taken into the examination venue. Materials prohibited from being brought into examinations include (but are not restricted to):

  • bags (these may be left outside examination rooms, however students should note that there will not be any security monitoring provided in these areas)
  • pencil cases
  • notes of any kind including those written on persons, rulers, calculators, calculator covers or anywhere else
  • blank paper, note pads, writing paper/pad
  • electronic recording devices

6.2       Any unauthorised material detected will be confiscated by the supervisor. Cases of alleged academic misconduct will be handled under the provisions of the relevant University policies

7.        Application for reasonable adjustments

7.1       Applications for reasonable adjustments will be considered in accordance with the University’s Disability Policy.

8.         Handling of examination scripts

8.1       A marker is required to annotate each page of a final examination script to indicate that it has been marked.

8.2       A student is entitled to view their annotated final examination script. The viewing will be conducted in a secure location. The Unit Convenor (or nominee) will be present at all times. The student is not entitled to copy, destroy, alter or annotate the script in any way. The script will remain the property of Macquarie University.

8.3       All necessary measures must be taken to ensure that all copies of a final examination paper, whether in draft or final form, are stored and transmitted in a secure manner.

8.4       Each final examination script will be kept by the University for a minimum of six months, or longer if deemed appropriate by the relevant Executive Dean. The six months starts from the end date of the relevant final examination period. Where an appeal has been lodged, the final examination script is to be kept for a minimum of six months following the outcome of the appeal.

8.5       Completed final examination scripts will be disposed of via confidential waste.

8.6       The final examination paper for each unit will be made available by the University and published on the University Library website after the official end date of the scheduled final examination period.

9.         Other assessment during the Final Examination period

9.1       Any other assessment scheduled during the Final Examination period must be approved by the Faculty Board.

9.2       The Faculty Board must ensure that the conduct of the assessment will not adversely affect those students taking other final examinations in the examinations period.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Supporting Assessment documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)
Schedule 1 Grading Requirements
Schedule 2 Unit Assessment Requirements
Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development)
Schedule 5 Moderation Requirements

Other related documents:
Final Examination Procedure

3          NOTES

3.1
Contact Officer
Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2
Implementation Officer
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching & Associate Deans Quality and Standards
3.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
Academic Senate
3.4
Date Approved
5 April 2016
3.5
Date of Commencement
Beginning of Session 2, 2016
3.6
Date for Review
 April 2019
3.7
Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Assessment Policy approved 4 October 2011
Grading Policy approved 3 August 2010
Final Examinations Policy approved 5 June 2012

3.8
Amendment History
Nil
3.9
Policy Authorisation
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)

SCHEDULE 5

MODERATION REQUIREMENTS

1     PURPOSE

This Schedule supports implementation of the Assessment Policy (in effect from Session 2 2016). 

2     SCHEDULE

1.        Moderation

Overview:

1.1       Moderation refers to a range of activities which provide confirmation that, at all stages of the assessment lifecycle, assessment has been conducted in accordance with the Policy.

1.2       Moderation involves elements of both quality assurance (before assessment is implemented) and quality control (after assessment) and must, on a regular basis, include the input of an academic not currently involved in the teaching of the unit.

Requirements:

1.3       All summative assessment must be subject to moderation.

1.4       Ensuring that assessment is effectively conducted is a collective responsibility to be exercised through the operation of internal moderation procedures.

1.5       The method of moderation may vary between departments.

1.6       Departments and offices (e.g. PACE) are responsible for ensuring that all staff involved in unit design and/or marking are adequately prepared for this activity, particularly those with less experience or who are new to the University.

1.7       Departments and offices must have documented processes for internal moderation, which are provided to all staff involved in the assessment process. The key elements of the information must be made easily available to students, for example, included in Unit Guides.

1.8       Evidence of moderation should be recorded/retained by the unit convenor until the next unit review.

1.9       The effectiveness of moderation processes will be evaluated periodically via the Academic Standards and Quality Committee of Academic Senate.

1.10     The views of all examiners, including those external to the University, will be subjected to internal moderation processes of the University.

2.         Moderation and the Assessment Lifecycle

2.1       Moderation will occur at all stages of the assessment lifecycle, including: 

           (a) Setting and modification of assessment criteria and standards
           (b) Design and modification of assessment tasks and rubrics
           (c) Pre-Marking (if more than one marker)
           (d) Marking/Grading
           (e) Review and Evaluation

3.         Setting and modification of assessment criteria and standards

3.1       Moderation, however organised, should confirm that the assessment criteria and standards:

    • Relate to the demonstration of the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the unit learning outcomes, achievement of which is being assessed
    • Are clear and sufficient to differentiate levels of achievement
    • Can be understood by students and all members of staff involved in the grading of assessments.

4.          Design and modification of assessment tasks and rubrics

4.1       Each program team should ensure the appropriateness of the type of assessment tasks across a program.

4.2       Internal processes will ensure the moderation of specific assessment tasks. This might be carried out either amongst paired colleagues, within teaching teams or by a departmental or program committee. However organised, the aim of this moderation should be to ensure that:

    • Each task is a valid means of providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the intended learning outcomes for the unit.
    • The questions or instructions are clearly worded and contain no ambiguities as to what students are expected to do.
    • The assessment workload is appropriate to the assessment across the program.
    • The time allowed for completion of the task is reasonable.
    • All students can reasonably be expected to have access to the resources required for completion of the task.
    • There is a clear marking scheme or rubric confirming correct answers or key features of model answers and if applicable, directions where and how marks are to be apportioned according to performance in specific questions or against specific assessment criteria and standards.

5.         Pre Marking

5.1       All markers must be familiar with the assessment standards, and agree on marking processes. The aims of this moderation are to:

  • clarify any misunderstanding of assessment requirements; and
  • ensure shared understanding and application of criteria and standards for assessment.

5.2       Common forms of pre-marking moderation include:

    • Pre-marking meetings with the teaching team and a step-by-step discussion of each question, checking for clarity and lack of ambiguity and for consensus around expectations of student responses.
    • Trial marking to refine the marking scheme and generate shared understandings of expected standards.

5.3       For assessment tasks where there is only one marker, the marker may pilot mark a number of scripts to familiarize themselves with the standards.

6.         Marking/Grading

6.1       Marks moderation must ensure that the judgements/marks have been arrived at accurately, consistently and fairly in accordance with the assessment criteria.

6.2       Common forms of moderation may include:

    • Checks for the consistent application of standards between different markers, through the use of comparative measures such as failure rates.
    • For a sample of submissions,
      • Checking that the mark or grade awarded by the first marker is appropriate in accordance with the assessment criteria/marking scheme.
      • Second marking (also referred to as double marking) the work in order to confirm the first mark, where the first mark is known to the second marker.
      • Blind second marking which means that the first mark is not known by the second marker.

7.         Review and Evaluation

7.1       The teaching team should identify and address areas for improvement in curriculum and assessment design in time for modification for the next unit offering.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

Supporting Assessment documents on this page (see Tabs above):
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)
Schedule 1 Grading Requirements
Schedule 2 Unit Assessment Requirements
Schedule 3 Higher Degree Research Assessment Requirements (under development)
Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements

Other related documents:
Final Examination Procedure

3     NOTES

3.1
Contact Officer
Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2
Implementation Officer
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching & Associate Deans Quality and Standards
3.3
Approval Authority / Authorities
Academic Senate
3.4
Date Approved
5 April 2016
3.5
Date of Commencement
Beginning of Session 2, 2016
3.6
Date for Review
 April 2019
3.7
Documents Superseded by this Schedule

Assessment Policy approved 4 October 2011
Grading Policy approved 3 August 2010
Final Examinations Policy approved 5 June 2012

3.8
Amendment History
Nil
3.9
Policy Authorisation
Assessment Policy (effective Session 2 2016)
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