Manual of Policies and Procedures

C/5.1 Assessment and feedback

Contact Officer

Dean of Studies, Learning and Teaching Unit

Approval Date

21/07/2017

Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review

30/07/2020

5.1.1 Purpose
5.1.2 Application
5.1.3 Roles and responsibilities
5.1.4 Assessment and feedback framework
5.1.5 Typical unit-based assessment pattern
5.1.6 Standards-based approach to assessment
5.1.7 Assurance of achievement standards in assessment
5.1.8 Communication to students about assessment and feedback
5.1.9 Student submission of assessment items
5.1.10 Access to assessment results
5.1.11 Procedures made under this policy
5.1.12 Definitions
Related Documents
Modification History

5.1.1 Purpose

Assessment is an integral part of student learning at QUT. Assessment and feedback at QUT are purposefully designed to be challenging, realistic and meaningful to promote learning outcomes and employability, consistent with the graduate capabilities and learner experiences set out in the Real World Learning 2020 Vision.

This policy sets out the principles and essential characteristics of assessment and feedback, and the requirements for the implementation of assessment and feedback for courses and coursework units. 

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5.1.2 Application

This policy applies to all courses involving coursework units (including as part of a postgraduate research program) offered by QUT, and to all staff and students involved with assessment and feedback processes.

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5.1.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position
Responsibility

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)

  • ensures provision of training on and curriculum support for academic staff who design and implement assessment and feedback
  • approves University-wide procedures and guidelines on assessment and feedback made under this policy

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Library Services)

  • ensures provision of virtual assessment environments and other information technology resources to support integrated assessment options
  • provides training, learning design support and technology-enabled systems for academic staff to design and implement technology-enabled assessment practices
Dean of Studies
  • oversees the integration of assessment and feedback practices across the university as part of accreditation and reaccreditation
  • monitors the University-wide effectiveness of assessment and feedback practices and supporting resources and recommends changes to procedures, guidelines and practices
Executive Dean
  • oversees and assures assessment practices and capability within a faculty
  • promotes assessment principles and ensures allocation of resources to support effective assessment practices within a faculty
  • approves final grades for publication to students
Course Coordinator (or equivalent)
  • designs and implements assessment and feedback for a course, and assures course-level assessment practices are consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course
  • coordinates course level assurance of achievement standards including moderation practices, and conducts external referencing of standards at least once per accreditation period
Subject Area Coordinator (or equivalent)
  • implements and assures subject area level assessment and feedback practices consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course
Unit Coordinator (or equivalent)
  • implements and communicates unit-level assessment and feedback practices, consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course
  • conducts unit level assurance of achievement standards including review and moderation between tutorial groups and by different teaching staff
  • recommends final grades for students
Unit staff (teaching and marking)
  • implements unit-level assessment and feedback practices consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course
Head of School
  • oversees and assures assessment practices and capability within a school
  • promotes assessment principles and values and ensures allocation of resources to support effective assessment within a school
  • authorises results submitted to the assessment management system
  • recommends approval of all changes to assessment arrangements once semester has commenced
Assistant Dean (Learning and Teaching)
  • monitors the effectiveness of faculty assessment practices, capability needs and resources to support and assure assessment implementation
Students
  • engage with feedback processes and other formative assessment activities to support future learning (E/2.1.3)
  • meet course assessment requirements and deadlines on time and with integrity so work may be marked and feedback returned to support future learning
Faculty academic boards
  • approve variation to assessment patterns consistent with delegations and accredited assessment approach for the course

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5.1.4 Assessment and feedback framework

Assessment and feedback at QUT must comply with the principles and design values outlined below. The processes through which assessment and feedback are implemented should comply with the Assessment and Feedback Procedures developed under this policy.

Assessment and feedback principles

Assessment and feedback at QUT are based on the following principles:

  • QUT adopts an authentic, whole-of-course approach to assessment. All assessment in units is linked to the course aims, content, experiences, and outcomes.
  • Feedback builds learner capabilities within units and across a course to make judgements about the progress and quality of their work and the work of others. Effective feedback (via formative tasks and summative assessment items) assists learners with meeting specified learning outcomes. It enables their transformation from dependent to independent learners, and develops their abilities to become confident self-evaluators.

Assessment and feedback design values

  • Authenticity
    Authentic feedback and assessment engage learners with developing skills and capabilities relevant to the contexts of work and employment.

  • Manageability
    A Whole-of-Course Assessment design carefully balances student and staff workload within and across teaching periods. The quantity of assessed work per unit of credit point is consistent within and across courses. Assessment is manageable for students to complete and for staff to assess within the timeframe of the relevant teaching period and is timed to maximize opportunities for developmental feedback.
  • Integrity
    Assessment and feedback promote academic and professional integrity and develop students’ capability in ethical practices (professional, research and communication). Assessment is conducted in such a way as to assure and sustain the integrity of the assessment process.
  • Connectedness
    Unit-based assessments are conceived in meaningful relationship to each other, and to assessment in related units, and to course learning outcomes.
  • Sustainability
    Assessment and feedback promote deep learning, building learners’ capability for self-evaluation and independent and lifelong learning.
  • Fairness
    Assessment and feedback are equitable and inclusive of all intended participants, enabling all learners to demonstrate, to the best of their ability, their achievement of learning outcomes, and take account of reasonable adjustments for individual students where appropriate. Information about assessment processes (such as moderation and grading) is transparent and plainly communicated to students.

  • Validity
    Assessment and feedback are valid, aligned and reliable in enabling and confirming the achievement of standards and stated learning outcomes by learners.

Course Assessment Blueprint

Courses must have a whole-of-course assessment strategy illustrated as a Course Assessment Blueprint. The approved Course Assessment Blueprint:

  • ensures unit assessment is directly connected to the course learning outcomes
  • specifies the requirements for assessment and feedback types and patterns enacted within and across units, informed by graduate and course learning outcome reference points
  • includes the academic rationale for any part of the framework which varies from this policy
  • is approved in accordance with the Curriculum development, approval and accreditation policy (C/4.1), at the time of course accreditation or reaccreditation.

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5.1.5 Typical unit-based assessment pattern

In the absence of an approved Course Assessment Blueprint and if specific requirements for a unit are not prescribed, assessment must be designed in a way that ensures assessment in individual units complies with a typical unit assessment pattern.  For a 12-credit point unit:

  • the maximum weighting of an assessment item is 60% of the total summative assessment for the unit
  • the minimum weighting of an assessment item is 10% of the total summative assessment for the unit
  • the maximum weighting for examinations is 60% of the total summative assessment for the unit
  • the maximum weighting for the collective component of team work is 50% of the total summative assessment for the unit
  • two or three summative assessment items for a 12-credit point unit.

Further guidance on assessment patterns, including exceptions, is provided in Procedures: assessment and feedback (QUT staff access only).

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5.1.6 Standards-based approach to assessment

Assessment at QUT is conducted with reference to learning outcomes and clearly defined standards of performance.

Assessment criteria for assessment items reflect what students are expected to learn through those assessment items. Performance descriptors reflect the expected standards of performance for the assessment criteria relative to the level of assessment (i.e. introductory, developing, mastery, capstone).

Standards are differentiated to transparently and consistently calibrate to the achievement descriptors of the QUT grading (C/5.2).  Assessment and feedback procedures provide further guidance on development of standards-based assessment.

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5.1.7 Assurance of achievement standards in assessment

Achievement standards refer to the quality of learning demonstrated by a student, with respect to knowledge, skills and abilities, through the summative assessment they complete in units and courses. QUT monitors the quality of student learning in units and courses by assuring achievement standards.

Assuring achievement standards is a scheduled cyclical practice conducted according to QUT’s Assuring achievement standards guidelines (QUT staff access only).

Internally, it involves course teams interacting and collaborating to:

  • validate assessment tasks and the standards and criteria by which they will be assessed, and
  • calibrate and moderate results, in the process of marking and grading, including ensuring the comparability of the application of standards across multiple markers.

Externally, it involves independent and knowledgeable peers or recognised authoritative groups (such as professional and industry bodies) in the review and calibration of QUT’s standards in comparison to other institutional settings and professional contexts.

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5.1.8 Communication to students about assessment and feedback

Students are entitled to:

  • timely, complete and accessible information about assessment, including examinations, through publication of unit outlines (C/4.5.3) and additional unit information (C/4.5.5)
  • timely access to feedback on, and the results of, their own individual assessment items, including examinations.

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5.1.9 Student submission of assessment items

QUT requires students to submit assessment work via the specified means by the due date and time set for submission so that it may be marked against assessment criteria, with feedback returned in a timely manner to support future learning. Students must meet assessment timeframes unless special circumstances prevent this occurring and an academic concession is granted.

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5.1.10 Access to assessment results

The release of assessment results supports the objective of providing timely feedback as a support to future learning and also promotes administrative release of information under right to information and privacy legislation.

Access to grades

Students are entitled to timely access to the grades of their own individual assessment items. During the course of a teaching period students should discuss their progress in all assessment tasks with relevant teaching staff, and can expect to be provided with a clear indication of the extent to which they have or have not achieved the criteria and standards set for each assessment item. Since this step may constitute a significant component of the learning outcomes for the unit, this should be undertaken as soon as possible (normally within five working days) after the release of the grades and/or return of the assessment item.

Access to examination scripts

A student may request access to their own examination scripts, written answers to examination questions or other forms of written assessment. The request must be made within three months of the release of final grades in the unit, as this is the minimum period for which examination scripts or other written materials must be retained. Unit coordinators must make appropriate arrangements for students to obtain access to these materials. Access is generally in the form of perusal of the examination script under supervision, which may incorporate individual feedback on performance where possible.

If a student requests a photocopy of their examination script, a fee is levied under the Student User Charging policy (G/8.4).

However, where examination question papers or other forms of assessment will be re-used in successive examinations, unit coordinators must arrange for students to receive advice on their performance with reference to their own examination scripts in a way which does not prejudice the examination mode. In this case, the student is not entitled to obtain a photocopy of the examination script.

Assignments

Assignments are generally returned to students following completion of marking, with appropriate general and specific feedback.  This is done in a manner which does not breach other students’ privacy and protects their work from tampering or unauthorised access.

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5.1.11 Procedures made under this policy

Procedures made under this policy provide further guidance to staff on assessment requirements and design of assessment at course and unit level.  The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) approves the procedures.

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5.1.12 Definitions

Formative assessment is used to monitor student learning and provides feedback to students to assist them in improving their learning.

Summative assessment evaluates student learning outcomes against specified standards or criteria.

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Related Documents

MOPP B/8.1 QUT Staff Code of Conduct

MOPP C/4.1 Curriculum design, approval and accreditation

MOPP C/4.3 Capabilities for QUT graduates

MOPP C/4.4 Work integrated learning

MOPP C/4.5 Units

MOPP C/4.6 Course quality assurance

MOPP C/4.7 Evaluation of courses, units, teaching and student experience

MOPP C/5.2 QUT grading

MOPP C/5.3 Academic integrity

MOPP E/2.1 Student Code of Conduct

MOPP E/6.1 Administration and timetabling of examinations

MOPP E/6.2 Conduct during examinations

MOPP E/6.3 Student academic concessions

MOPP E/6.7 Academic progress

Assessment and Feedback Procedures and Guidelines (QUT staff access only)

Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth)

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

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Modification History

Date

Sections

Source

Details

21.07.17 All University Academic Board Revised policy – effective 01.01.18. Incorporates rescinded policy E/6.6 Access to assessment results
20.09.13 All University Academic Board Periodic review – policy revised

19.02.11

All

Vice-Chancellor

Policy revised to include approved name change for Office of Teaching Quality to Learning and Teaching Unit and position title for Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Teaching Quality) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)

13.08.10

All

University Academic Board

Revised policy - minor editorial changes only

29.05.09

All

University Academic Board

Revised policy, effective from 01.01.10 for new courses and units, and from 01.01.11 for existing courses and units

14.11.08

All

University Academic Board

Policy renumbered to C/5.1 (formerly C/9.1)

11.03.05

C/5.1.11

University Academic Board

Revised to include new policy on assessment of workplace learning (C/5.1.11) � remaining sub-sections renumbered accordingly (endorsed by Teaching and Learning Committee 01.03.05)

19.03.04

C/5.1.13

University Academic Board

Revised policy to include a statement on eligibility to undertake assessment (endorsed by Academic Policy and Procedures Committee 12.03.04)

26.09.03

All

University Academic Board

New assessment policy (endorsed by Teaching and Learning Committee 09.09.03) - effective 01.01.2004

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