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Teaching and Assessment: Assessment and Feedback Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to set out the University of Wollongong’s approach to effective learning, teaching and assessment, including the principles and minimum standards underlying teaching and assessment practice.

(2) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following associated policy documents:

  1. Teaching and Assessment - Code of Practice - Teaching;
  2. Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy; and
  3. Code of Practice - Casual Academic Teaching.

(3) The following separate policy documents provide further direction in relation to specific aspects of assessment and feedback:

  1. Academic Integrity Policy;
  2. Student Academic Consideration Policy;
  3. Supplementary Assessment Procedure;
  4. Examination Rules and Procedures;
  5. Finalisation of Student Results Policy; and
  6. English Language Policy.
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Section 2 - Application and Scope

(4) This Policy applies to teaching, learning and assessment of all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework subjects at the University of Wollongong that are taught onshore and offshore, delivered in any mode, including on campus, flexible or distance (or online) and including coursework subjects where the primary or only assessment task is a creative or special project or an Honours Project. This Policy should be read in conjunction with other related policies in particular the Teaching and Assessment - Code of Practice - Teaching and the Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy.

(5) The Policy does not apply to the University of Wollongong in Dubai.

(6) This Policy applies to the assessment of all Honours Projects with a weighting of 24 credit points or more. The assessment practices outlined in this Policy may also be applied to Honours Degree subjects that include an Honours Project with a lesser weighting. This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Honours Policy, with regard to the responsibilities of the University, Academic Unit, Supervisors and students.

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Section 3 - Policy Principles

(7) The University has a responsibility to provide a quality learning environment for students in accordance with its Strategic Plan and broader legislative and regulatory requirements.

(8) The University values excellence in teaching and assessment practice and is committed to providing an effective learning environment for its students. To this end, the University has in place quality assurance processes and procedures to support effective teaching and appropriate, consistent and fair assessment practices. Underlying these processes and procedures are the principles of equity, transparency and collegiality.

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Section 4 - Assessment and Feedback at UOW

(9) This section provides a framework for assessment and feedback practice in all University of Wollongong degrees at both subject and course level (across all campuses, delivered in any mode). It is based on international, research-based, best-practice models and aligns with the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021. It should be read in association with the good practice examples on the UOW Assessment and Feedback Principles website.

Vision

(10) Assessment is critical to the learning and teaching cycle. It involves processes, tasks, feedback, reflection and dialogue with teaching staff and peers. Together, these enable students to develop and apply their knowledge and skills, and extend their capacity to become confident, capable, self-regulating lifelong learners.

Purpose

(11) Assessment tasks and processes fulfil three key roles in student learning:

  1. facilitate student capacity to meet learning outcomes (formative);
  2. develop student ability to become confident self-evaluators (sustainable assessment literacy); and
  3. provide evidence of achievement of learning outcomes (summative).

(12) In complex assessment tasks these roles may overlap.

(13) Engaged, aligned, resourceful, moderated and relevant assessment design ensures the integrity of course delivery and student learning. It is critical to student engagement and course quality assurance and is therefore a central part of academic practice for all educators. UOW recognises the centrality of assessment and feedback processes by rewarding and resourcing good practice and innovation through Continuing Professional Development and the Academic Performance Framework.

Assessment and Feedback Principles

Principle 1 - Aligned

(14) Good assessment design is a whole of course task that requires:

  1. planning and systematic development by course teams;
  2. explicit alignment with course and subject learning outcomes; and
  3. focus on scaffolding and integrating learning, especially at key points throughout the course.

Principle 2 - Balanced

(15) Course assessment design will have an appropriate balance of summative and formative assessment tasks comprising:

  1. Formative assessment and learning tasks: that engage students in productive opportunities to apply knowledge and skills and gain feedback in a timely, constructive manner in order to support the students’ continuous development.
  2. Assessment tasks early in a degree program will introduce students to important assessment skills and literacies.
  3. Summative assessment tasks that mirror, complement or build on formative assessment and learning tasks to ensure student learning at key points in the course or for the purpose of warranting/confirming that learning outcomes have been met (and that will be kept to the minimum necessary for that purpose).

Principle 3 - Engaged feedback

(16) Assessment involves an engaged process that begins with clearly articulated task guidelines and criteria but should extend to active discussion that facilitates students taking ownership of criteria and standards for their assessment. Post-task feedback continues this dialogue on the page or screen but should be extended through discussion, opportunities for peer assessment and sharing and individual consultations (where needed or requested). Tasks and feedback loops must be timed to ensure sufficient opportunities are provided to put the feedback into practice.

Principle 4 - Designed for learning

(17) Whether formative or summative, assessment tasks will be designed to enable student learning. Tasks should have a positive impact on student behaviour – when, how and why they study – and build an approach that develops sustained and self-regulated learning. Good assessment design ensures:

  1. Authenticity – focusing on intellectually challenging real-world practices through enquiry-based processes.
  2. Validity – carefully and explicitly assessing whether the intended learning outcomes are being addressed.
  3. Equity - tasks should be designed having regard for the diversity of students including backgrounds, experiences and learning styles.
  4. Relevance – tasks with a sense of purpose that meet the student’s interests allowing for individual choice of task should be considered.
  5. Integrity – tasks should introduce and engage students in ethical research and communication practices.
  6. Transparency – tasks should be clearly articulated and performance standards made explicit through an assessment rubric or other instrument made available when the assignment is set.
  7. Appropriate effort – tasks need to be intellectually challenging and enable students’ learning without placing undue burdens on either staff or student workloads.

Principle 5 - Quality assured

(18) Academic Program Directors and Subject Coordinators will ensure assessment is:

  1. Consistent: assessment criteria referenced in assessment rubrics;
  2. Moderated and calibrated: grading decisions between markers are reliably applied; and
  3. Reviewed: to ensure continuous, incremental enhancement of assessment tasks through incorporating student feedback
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Section 5 - Assurance of Learning

(19) In accordance with the Course Design Procedures, a well-developed Assurance of Learning process is characterised by a range of activities including:

  1. teaching and learning activities arranged to foster progressive and coherent achievement of expected learning outcomes;
  2. methods of assessment which are capable of confirming that students are achieving the learning outcomes; and
  3. grades which reflect the level of student attainment.
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Section 6 - Assessment and Feedback Practice

(20) The requirements described in this section reflect the Assessment and Feedback Principles in practice at UOW.

Assessment Methods and Tasks

(21) Assessment methods must:

  1. assure learning against the relevant learning outcomes, and, where applicable, the major study and/or course learning outcomes;
  2. reflect the level of complexity required by students to demonstrate the relevant learning outcomes; and
  3. have a weighting appropriate the time and effort required to complete and mark the task, ensuring where relevant the inherent requirements of the course.

(22) Assessment methods may require reasonable adjustment for students registered with a disability.

(23) Clear and appropriate criteria must be developed and used for marking all assessment tasks in a subject and details of the criteria must be communicated to students in the Subject Outline.

(24) The development and use of assessment rubrics is required to assist in measuring the differing levels of attainment of the requirements of an assessment task (clause 83 for further information).

(25) No single assessment task will count for more than 70% of the final mark for the subject, with the exception of subjects designated as creative or special projects, student professional experience, or other tasks with the approval of the Head of Academic Unit.

(26) At least one assessment task for each subject must require students to produce written work (e.g. essay, problem solving exercise, short answer exercise, or documented creative work).

(27) Group-based assessment must be assessed by means that allow the real contribution of each member of the group to be determined. The assessment weighting of group-based assessment must not constitute more than 50% unless approved by the Head of Academic Unit.

(28) Where attendance requirements are set for a subject, attendance records must be kept. Marks cannot be awarded for attendance.

(29) Where class participation is used for assessment, explicit marking criteria must be used and a record must be kept by the academic staff member conducting the class, retained in accordance with Schedule 2 of this Policy.

(30) Where scaling is used in a subject, the method of scaling must be clearly stated in the Subject Outline and it must preserve the rank order within a cohort (refer to Schedule 1 of the Finalisation of Student Results Policy). No mark can be scaled down after the release of results by the Student Administration Services Division.

(31) In accordance with the Supplementary Assessment Procedure, if supplementary assessment is deemed to be unsuitable for the subject, then the Subject Outline must include an explicit statement to this effect. .

(32) Assessment task due dates cannot fall during the study recess period, except with the prior approval of the Head of Academic Unit.

Engaged Feedback to Students

(33) Supportive, constructive and timely feedback, which is clearly linked to the assessment criteria, is an essential component of the learning process. It enables students to build on their positive achievements and have a clear sense of what they need to do to improve their performance when undertaking subsequent assessment tasks.

(34) Students must be provided with appropriate and useful feedback on performance in all assessment and learning tasks (with the exception of a final examination). Following the declaration of a final mark and grade for the subject, students have the right to obtain their final examination marks from the Subject Coordinator and to view and discuss their performance with the Subject Coordinator or, if not available, the Head of Academic Unit or nominee.

(35) Students must receive feedback on assessment tasks in sufficient time to enable them to improve their performance in areas of knowledge or skill development before further assessment is attempted.

(36) Assessment tasks, with the exception of a final examination, must be marked and made available to students within 15 working days of the submission date unless otherwise specified in the Subject Outline.

(37) Students must receive feedback:

  1. on at least one formative assessment activity (which may or may not be a graded activity) by the census date for the session in which the subject is delivered; and
  2. on at least one assessment task (that is, an activity that a student is required to complete to provide a basis for an official record of achievement or certification of competence) prior to the deadline for students to withdraw from a subject without academic penalty (week 9 in a standard session).

(38) In subjects where a final examination is set, all assessment tasks that relate to the subject matter included in the final examination in a subject must be marked and made available to students prior to the start of the examination period.

(39) Except in subjects where grades of unsatisfactory and satisfactory are used, assessment tasks must be awarded a numerical mark.

Procedures for Managing Submission and Return of Written Assessment Tasks

(40) Each academic unit must have written procedures, as specified in Schedule 1 of this Policy, for the submission, including by means of online assignment submission, and return of written assessment tasks that provide safeguards against claims of non-receipt and non-return.

(41) An appropriate digital receipting process must be in place for those assessment tasks submitted electronically (e.g. via Moodle or some other Learning Management System application).

(42) Dates, times and means of submission of assessment tasks must be specified in the Subject Outline for each subject, in accordance with the Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy.

(43) Students who do not meet the specified deadline for an assessment task will be penalised as set out in the Subject Outline.

(44) Extensions on assessment completion requirements may be given to students only in accordance with the Student Academic Consideration Policy.

(45) In accordance with calauses 91-93, where an assessment item is subject to the moderation process outlined in this Policy, the Subject Coordinator must retain an appropriate sample of student work.

Faculty Examinations

(46) The Head of Academic Unit is responsible for ensuring that faculty examinations are conducted in accordance with the Examination Rules and associated procedures; or approving that a faculty examination may be conducted under varied guidelines, subject to such variation being appropriately communicated to students. The requirements set out in this Policy, and the following University policies, must be taken into account when setting faculty examinations:

  1. Workplace Health and Safety Policy;
  2. Disability Policy - Students; and
  3. Respect for Diversity Policy.

(47) The dates and times for faculty examinations must be set out in the Subject Outline, in accordance with the Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy. Alternative arrangements for students who are unable to attend faculty examinations must be made in accordance with the Student Academic Consideration Policy.

Recording of Student Marks

(48) All marks must be entered into SMP or Moodle (from which marks are required to be imported into SMP) at or before the time the mark is provided to the student, in order to:

  1. enable real-time review and analysis of student performance, which is undertaken in order to support student engagement and progress; and
  2. ensure a central record is maintained, in accordance with Schedule 2 of this Policy.

(49) Any additional documentation used to determine student results (such as spreadsheets) must be stored in the University’s network drive so that they are included in periodic IT back up exercises, in accordance with Schedule 2 of this Policy.

(50) Student marks must be stored using internal UOW systems. Student marks, or other information pertaining to student academic activities and performance must not be distributed to third party services for management and/or storage.

Finalisation of Results

(51) The Faculty must follow the processes for finalising students’ marks and grades as stipulated in the Finalisation of Student Results Policy which also set out the roles and responsibilities of the Academic Unit Assessment Committee and the Faculty Assessment Committee.

(52) In accordance with the Coursework Rules:

  1. an approved grade of performance and an overall mark (except where a subject is marked on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis) will be determined, declared and released for each subject in which a student is enrolled; or, 
  2. a withheld result may be given in a subject but an approved grade of performance and overall mark (except where a subject is marked on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis) must be declared within ten weeks after the release of results date.

(53) Unless otherwise approved, the overall mark for each student in a subject shall be determined on the scale of 0 to 100% by the methods set out in the Subject Outline.

(54) Where an incorrect grade or mark has been declared as a result of an administrative error, the variation of result(s) must be approved as per the Finalisation of Student Results Policy and Coursework Rules.

(55) The approved grades of performance for undergraduate subjects, honours programs and postgraduate subjects are set out in the Coursework Rules. The UOW Grade Descriptors, provided at Schedule 1 of this Policy, describe student performance at each of the University’s grade levels.

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Section 7 - Assessment of Honours Projects

Honours Guide

(56) All procedures and processes concerning the assessment of Honours Projects must be approved by the relevant Faculty Education Committee and set out in the Honours Guide for that Faculty, Academic Unit or course or for Professional Honours Degrees where the Honours Project is worth less than 24 credit points, in the relevant subject outline for the subject outline for the subject regulating the completion of the Honours Project.

Assessment of Honours Projects with a weighting of 24 credit points or more

(57) The requirements set out in clauses 57-74 apply to the assessment of an Honours Project with a weighting of 24 credit points or more. Honours Degree courses that include a project with a lesser weighting may also choose to adopt the procedures set out in this section.

(58) Documented quality assurance processes must be in place in each academic unit to ensure the independent, transparent and impartial assessment of all Honours Projects.

(59) The assessment of an Honours Project is to be undertaken by two honours examiners. Where possible, at least one of the honours examiners should be external. An honours examiner is external when the honours examiner is external to the Academic Unit and may be external to the Faculty or to the University.

(60) Notwithstanding clause 59, each Academic Unit must externally benchmark the standard of honours projects in each Honours Degree course against comparable Australian universities at least once every three (3) years. External benchmarking may involve:

  1. the use of honours examiners from another Australian university for the examination of a representative sample of Honours Projects; or
  2. review of a representative sample of Honours Projects by academics from at least one other Australian university as part of quality assurance of the standard of Honours Projects.

Choice of Honours Examiners

(61) Honours examiners shall be chosen by the Honours Coordinator in consultation with the Supervisor, and having regard to the requirements in clause 63.

(62) A Supervisor cannot examine an Honours Project with a weighting of 24 credit points or more that they have supervised.

(63) To be suitable for the role, an honours examiner must be familiar with the expectations and requirements of an Honours Degree course. They must also:

  1. hold an AQF Level 9 qualification or higher, or equivalent; and
  2. be an active researcher or have a proven research record; or
  3. have previous successful experience in supervision or examination of Honours Degree students; or
  4. have some research experience and have substantial specialised knowledge in the subject matter of the Honours Project.

Examination Process

(64) Honours examiners are to be given up to 15 working days to provide a report to the relevant Assessment Committee, to enable the Faculty to meet University deadlines for the declaration of marks and for students to be considered for scholarships and/or graduation.

(65) Honours examiners shall be provided with a clear written brief which covers the following:

  1. the essential requirements of the course;
  2. marking procedures, including the method of (and deadline for) reporting their assessment the relevant Academic Unit;
  3. clear marking criteria for use in assessing the Honours Project;
  4. the relative weighting of the Honours Project compared with other assessment components;
  5. the requirement that honours examiners submit independent results;
  6. any other matters that the Academic Unit considers appropriate.

(66) Until the assessment of an Honours Project is complete and a report is submitted by an honours examiner, all communication between the honours examiner and the University regarding the Honours Project shall be directed through the Honours Coordinator, or the head of the relevant Academic Unit or, if the head of the Academic Unit is the Honours Degree student’s Supervisor, another nominated academic.

(67) Honours Degree students and Supervisors shall not contact any honours examiner concerning the assessment of the Honours Project until the reports of all honours examiners are returned to and acted on by the Assessment Committee of the Academic Unit.

(68) Supervisors should be permitted to view the assessment reports and raise issues or points of clarification prior to the Academic Unit or Faculty Assessment Committee meeting.

(69) The assessment reports from the honours examiners and the marks recorded for both the Honours Project and any coursework components are to be forwarded to the relevant Assessment Committee for final declaration of mark.

(70) The names of the honours examiners and copies of the honours examiners’ reports will be made available to the student after the final mark has been declared.

(71) Each Faculty shall have written procedures for dealing with discrepancies between honours examiners’ marks for an Honours Project, approved by the Faculty Education Committee. These procedures shall be communicated to students in the Honours Guide.

(72) Where there is a discrepancy of more than ten percentage points between the marks determined by any two honours examiners, and the discrepancy cannot be resolved by discussion between the honours examiners, an additional marker shall be appointed by the Honours Coordinator to assess the Honours Project. When this delays the assessment process, the Honours Degree student should be notified that further advice has been sought.

(73) Each Faculty must have written procedures that specify:

  1. the role of additional honours examiners (for example, whether they are ‘blind’ honours examiners who are not provided with previous honours examiners’ reports or adjudicators who have access to those reports);
  2. how a final mark is to be determined following a report by an additional honours examiner; and
  3. where the additional honours examiner is an adjudicator, the criteria for selecting that honours examiner.

(74) The Academic Unit Assessment Committee (where appropriate) is responsible for recommending the overall Honours mark for the subject in which the Honours Project forms the some or all of the required assessment tasks to the Faculty Assessment Committee. In all cases, the Faculty Assessment Committee declares the final mark for the subject.

Assessment of Honours Projects with a weighting of less than 24 credit points

(75) The owning Faculty of an Honours Degree course that includes an Honours Project with a weighting of less than 24 credit points may choose to adopt the assessment procedures set out in section clauses 57-74.

(76) Where the procedures set out in section clauses 56-74 are not adopted, section 6 of this Policy applies to the assessment of the Honours Project.

(77) In addition, the Academic Unit must have written procedures, approved by the Faculty Education Committee, that state:

  1. how honours examiners are chosen;
  2. where any of the honours examiners are external to the university, how their qualifications are assessed and how they are briefed;
  3. the role of the Supervisor in the assessment of the Honours Project;
  4. the relationship that should exist between Supervisor(s) and honours examiner(s) during the assessment process (e.g. what contact can take place); and
  5. where there is more than one honours examiner, how discrepancies between the marks allocated by honours examiners should be resolved.

(78) Where the Supervisor also acts as an honours examiner, of an Honours Project they have supervised with a weighting of less than 24 credit points, there must be at least one additional honours examiner appointed to assess the Honours Project.

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Section 8 - Assuring Standards of Assessment

(79) The University of Wollongong is committed to the quality assurance and quality enhancement of assessment. The University will meet its legislative and regulatory obligations, to ensure consistent and appropriate assessment through course management and coordination, including assessment quality assurance procedures. An Assessment Quality Cycle is used to describe quality assurance at the points of assessment design, assessment delivery, the declaration of marks and grades, and review and improvement activities.

The Assessment Quality Cycle

(80) The UOW Assessment Quality Cycle provides a level of assurance that assessment practice across the University is appropriate, consistent and fair.

(81) The Assessment Quality Cycle also has a quality enhancement role as it contributes to the continuous improvement of assessment practices and to sharing and development of good practice among colleagues and with students.

(82) In the spirit of the outcomes identified in sections 80 and 81, Assessment Quality Cycle activities should be undertaken to contribute to (as necessary):

  1. the design of the assessment suite and individual assessment tasks;
  2. the marking of individual assessment tasks;
  3. the finalisation of subject marks and grades; and
  4. review of the subject prior to subsequent delivery.

Quality Assurance of Course and Subject Design

(83) Subject Coordinators, in consultation with their teaching teams (where applicable), are responsible for assuring quality assessment practices in the subject by:

  1. developing assessment task rubrics that assist in measuring the differing levels of achievement of students in relation to the learning outcomes;
  2. where Course Learning Outcomes have been mapped into a subject, subject teams should utilise course-level learning outcome articulations (e.g. course-level rubrics) when developing assessment task rubrics;
  3. where a subject is taught by a teaching team, and as appropriate and feasible:
    1. ensuring all members of the team are involved in and contribute to the development of assessment task rubrics; and
    2. fostering a shared understanding of the assessment requirements and agreement on the expectations around student performance.

(84) Academic Program Directors, in collaboration with course teams, are responsible for ensuring compliance with the learning outcome provisions of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, this includes articulating:

  1. how Course Learning Outcomes, together with or integrating the Australian Qualifications Framework level descriptors, are developed through specific subjects and assessment tasks; and
  2. how student learning is progressively developed, by mapping how the curriculum is designed to support progressive achievement of learning outcomes.

(85) Quality assurance of course and subject design may take place as part of scheduled course reviews.

(86) To support this work, recommended practice is to develop course-level rubrics, supported in turn by assessment rubrics.

Quality Assurance of the Assessment Task Design

(87) The design of all assessment tasks must be quality assured to ensure:

  1. that the assessment tasks are consistent with, and support attainment of, the approved subject learning outcomes and the assessment requirements of the subject;
  2. that, where the subject is a core subject, a capstone subject or an elective subject that supports the course or major study learning outcomes, the assessment tasks are appropriately aligned to the course or major study learning outcomes;
  3. that the assessment tasks are appropriate and fair;
  4. that the requirements, expectations and instructions for the assessment tasks are clear and free from error;
  5. that the academic challenges presented by the assessment tasks are consistent with the level of the subject; and
  6. that the design of the assessment tasks supports the development of the skills necessary to demonstrate academic integrity, and minimise opportunities for academic misconduct, in accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy.

(88) To assure the quality of assessment task design, as stipulated in clause 87, all assessment tasks that assure subject learning outcomes must be reviewed, by another member of academic staff who has appropriate discipline knowledge and academic experience.

(89) Where a teaching team has jointly designed the assessment tasks for the subject the assessment quality assurance requirements stipulated in clause 88 are considered to have been met.

Calibration of Assessment Standards of Teaching Teams

(90) Where a subject is taught by a teaching team, the Subject Coordinator is responsible for implementing quality assurance practices in the delivery of the subject, including:

  1. ensuring consistency and equity in teaching standards in subject delivery, including across multiple teaching locations;
  2. engaging the input of the teaching team in designing the subject to ensure that it clearly links meaningful assessment tasks with subject content and learning outcomes;
  3. undertaking calibration activities to ensure a shared understanding of assessment requirements by the teaching team, with reference to tools such as marking criteria, assessment rubrics, examples student work and exemplars; and
  4. establishing processes to promote consistency in marking (including by reference to the UOW Grade Descriptors) and in the amount and quality of feedback provided to students.

Quality Assurance of Assessment Marking

(91) Quality assurance of assessment marking involves moderation of assessment, to ensure that student work has been assessed appropriately, consistently and fairly, and to validate any calibration activities that have been undertaken by the teaching team.

(92) Moderation of assessment should be undertaken before the release of exams results in the relevant session.

(93) Subject Coordinators are responsible for:

  1. ensuring that moderation of assessment is undertaken, using a representative sample of student work from the subject, for all examinations and for all non-examination assessment tasks that assure the subject learning outcomes;
  2. ensuring that concerns about the pattern of marks and grades for an assessment task are resolved in consultation with the original marker and any additional markers; and
  3. retaining a record of the moderation of assessment activities in accordance with sections 110 – 113.

(94) These provisions do not apply to assessment tasks for which moderation does not add value, for example, tasks that require non-interpretive marking.

(95) Academic Units must have in place quality control mechanisms to assure the security of student work during submission/collection and circulation to staff involved in moderation activities, and that the integrity of the marks submitted for grade finalisation is upheld.

(96) The assessment requirements for Honours Projects of 24 credit points or more, as stipulated in section 7, are considered to meet moderation of assessment requirements.

Quality Assurance of Grade Finalisation

(97) The quality assurance of assessment occurs at the point of grade finalisation, as part of the deliberations of the Academic Unit Assessment Committee as provided for in the Finalisation of Student Results Policy.

(98) The Academic Unit is responsible for assuring assessment quality by:

  1. giving consideration to the pattern of marks and grades awarded within subjects delivered by the Academic Unit, including a comparison of distribution with historical data and across locations; and
  2. identifying any subject anomalies, to ensure marks and grades are being awarded appropriately, consistently and fairly.

(99) Where an assessment quality assurance activity has identified anomalous student results, or any other issue related to assessment practice within the subject, this will be reported through the Assessment Committee process, as provided for in the Finalisation of Student Results Policy.

Quality Assurance of Assessment for UOW Courses Delivered by a Third Party

(100) The University has comprehensive quality assurance processes for all teaching and learning activities of UOW courses delivered by a third party. In any instance where a subject is being delivered by a third party, to avoid duplication, the following requirements of this Policy will not concurrently apply:

  1. Quality Assurance of the Assessment Task Design;
  2. Quality Assurance of Assessment Marking; and
  3. Quality Assurance of Grade Finalisation.

(101) Refer to the Collaborative Delivery of a UOW Course Policy and related procedures for further information on third party quality assurance requirements.

Review of Assessment Practice Post-Declaration of Results

(102) Once results for a session have been declared, the review activities in clause 103-109 should be undertaken as part of the University’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Review of Student Performance

(103) The University routinely conducts comparative analyses of student performance across locations as a way of monitoring equivalence via the Comparative Student Outcomes process. This analysis includes the use of equivalent performance measures for domestic and international students to facilitate comparison and analysis on relevant dimensions of performance.

(104) The University may also analyse other student performance and teaching evaluation data to identify potential issues with, or improvement opportunities for, assessment design and/or subject delivery.

External Referencing

(105) The University has obligations under the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 to ensure that assessment requirements, marking criteria, assessment rubrics and student performance within selected subjects within each course offered by the University are externally referenced against similar courses offered by other higher education providers at least every five years.

(106) As a minimum, external referencing must be undertaken for all assessment tasks that assure the course learning outcomes, within a course.

(107) Where a course is subject to a formal external accreditation process that includes benchmarking of assessment, the external referencing requirements stipulated in clause 105 and 106 are considered to have been met.

(108) Where an Honours course is subject to external benchmarking as specified in clause 60, such activities are considered to contribute to the external referencing obligations of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.

(109) Outcomes of external referencing activities should be taken into consideration during subsequent delivery of a subject, including during:

  1. course, subject and assessment design;
  2. teaching team calibration;
  3. marking; and
  4. grade finalisation.

Records Management to Support Assessment Quality Assurance

Retention of Student Work for Assessment Quality Assurance

(110) Where an assessment item may be the subject of moderation, an appropriate sample of student work must be retained and be readily accessible for the purposes of moderation. Each academic unit is responsible for having in place a procedure to manage the retention of such student work in accordance with Schedule 2 Retention of Assessment Records.

Record-keeping and Assessment Quality Assurance

(111) A record of the assessment quality assurance activities must be retained by the Subject Coordinator in accordance with subject monitoring requirements as per the Teaching and Assessment: Subject Delivery Policy.

(112) This quality assurance process covers design and delivery aspects of assessment, which will in turn inform the assessment declaration and post-review monitoring processes.

(113) Each academic unit is responsible for having in place a procedure to manage the retention of assessment quality assurance records in accordance with the Schedule 2 of this Policy.

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Section 9 - Retention of Assessment Records

(114) Assessment records must be retained as prescribed by Schedule 2 of this Policy, which sets out the procedures by which academic staff, academic units and Faculties and the Student Administration Services Division are required to retain assessment documents in order to meet the University’s obligations under the State Records Act 1998.

(115) It is the academic or business unit’s responsibility to ensure physical retention and disposal of documents (any format, including electronic) is consistent with the State Records Act 1998 and the University’s Records Management Policy.

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Section 10 - Student Concerns and Complaints

(116) In accordance with the Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Policy, a student may:

  1. lodge a formal request for a review of a mark or grade on the grounds of alleged:
    1. failure to assess work in accordance with the assessment criteria specified in the relevant subject outline;
    2. technical marking or mark collation error; or
    3. bias on the part of the marker; or
  2. lodge a formal complaint regarding adherence to any of the requirements in this Policy.

(117) No review under clause 116.a.i is available in respect of a student’s mark or grade that has been the subject of a quality assurance of assessment marking process as provided in clauses 91-96.

Complaints concerning Assessment Outcomes – Honours Projects

(118) Where the assessment of an Honours Projects is subject to moderation processes involving the use of two honours examiners to examine the Honours Project, there is no provision for an academic review of the mark or grade awarded for an Honours Project.

(119) Any student with a complaint regarding any other aspect of the outcome of the Honours Project should pursue their concerns by making a complaint using the Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Policy.

(120) Inadequate supervision or other arrangements during the period of study will not be taken into consideration in reviewing the assessment of an Honours Project, unless documented efforts have been made by the Honours Degree student to report these issues which have not been adequately addressed.

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Section 11 - Roles and Responsibilities

(121) Roles and responsibilities relating to Assessment and Feedback are outlined in the Teaching and Assessment - Code of Practice - Teaching.

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Section 12 - Schedule 1 – UOW Grade Descriptors

(122) The UOW Grade Descriptors describe student performance at each of the University’s grade levels and must be communicated to students in the Subject Outline.

(123) Staff should refer to the UOW Grade Descriptors:

  1. prospectively when designing assessment tasks and marking criteria and when marking assessments, including using them as a basis for crafting marking rubrics; and
  2. retrospectively when undertaking benchmarking and review of marking and grading.

(124) The UOW Grade Descriptors also provide a frame of reference for moderation of assessment activities, especially within teaching teams, to ensure that assessment practice across the University is appropriate, consistent and fair.

Grade
Mark (%)
Descriptor
High Distinction
HD
85-100
A high distinction grade (HD) is awarded for performance that provides evidence of an outstanding level of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes, demonstrating the attributes of a distinction grade plus (as applicable) one or more of the following:
  1. consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding;
  2. substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem-solving approaches;
  3. critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications;
  4. use of quantitative analysis of data as the basis for deep and thoughtful judgments, drawing insightful, carefully qualified conclusions from this work;
  5. creativity in application as appropriate to the discipline;
  6. eloquent and sophisticated communication of information and ideas in terms of the conventions of the discipline;
  7. consistent application of appropriate skills, techniques and methods with outstanding levels of precision and accuracy;
  8. all or almost all answers correct, very few or none incorrect.
Distinction
D
75-84
A distinction grade (D) is awarded for performance that provides evidence of a superior level of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes, demonstrating the attributes of a credit grade plus (as applicable) one or more of the following:
  1. evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles, concepts and/or theories;
  2. distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills, techniques, methods and/or concepts;
  3. demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions;
  4. fluent and thorough communication of information and ideas in terms of the conventions of the discipline;
  5. frequent application of appropriate skills, techniques and methods with superior levels of precision and accuracy;
  6. most answers correct, few incorrect.
Credit
C
65-74
A credit grade (C) is awarded for performance that provides evidence of a high level of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes, demonstrating the attributes of a pass grade plus (as applicable) one or more of the following:
  1. evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills;
  2. demonstration of solid understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study;
  3. demonstration of the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts;
  4. use of convincing arguments with appropriate coherent and logical reasoning;
  5. clear communication of information and ideas in terms of the conventions of the discipline;
  6. regular application of appropriate skills, techniques and methods with high levels of precision and accuracy;
  7. many answers correct, some incorrect.
Pass
P
50-64
A pass grade (P) is awarded for performance that provides evidence of a satisfactory level attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes, demonstrating (as applicable) one or more of the following:
  1. knowledge, understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study;
  2. use of routine arguments with acceptable reasoning;
  3. adequate communication of information and ideas in terms of the conventions of the discipline;
  4. ability to apply appropriate skills, techniques and methods with satisfactory levels of precision and accuracy;
  5. a combination of correct and incorrect answers.
Fail
F
~ <50
A fail grade (F) is given for performance that does not provide sufficient evidence of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes.
Technical Fail
TF
 
A technical fail (TF) grade is given when minimum performance level requirements for at least one assessment item in the subject as a whole has not been met despite the student achieving at least a satisfactory level of attainment of the subject learning outcomes.
Satisfactory
S
 
A satisfactory grade (S) is awarded for performance that demonstrates a satisfactory level of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes.
Unsatisfactory
U
 
An unsatisfactory grade (U) is awarded for performance that demonstrates an unsatisfactory level of attainment of the relevant subject learning outcomes.
Excellent
E
 
An excellent grade (E) may be awarded, instead of a satisfactory grade (S), within subjects from the School of Medicine that have been completed with a consistent pattern of high standard of performance in all aspects of the subject.
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Section 13 - Schedule 2 – Retention of Assessment Records

Preamble

(125) The State Records Act 1998 and the University’s Records Management Policy place specific restrictions on the release, retention and return of students’ academic work (assessment and examinations) and the records and documents relating to the assessment of students’ work. The assessment of student work is a public activity, and processes for the retention of assessment records should be conducted within the constraints provided by the University Privacy Policy and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.

(126) This Schedule sets out the procedures by which Academic staff, Academic Units and Faculties and the Student Administration Services Division are required to retain assessment records in order to meet the University’s obligations under the State Records Act 1998.

(127) It is the academic or business unit’s responsibility to ensure physical retention and disposal of documents (any format, including electronic) is consistent with the State Records Act 1998 and the University’s Records Management Policy.

Definitions

(128) The term ‘assessment’ used in this schedule is consistent with the definition used by the State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales – “the process of testing knowledge and understanding of candidates for degrees, programs etc., by examination and other techniques.”

Related Legislation and Policies

  1. State Records Act 1998 (Refer to General Disposal Authority– Higher and further education GA47)
  2. State Records Act 1998 (Refer to General Disposal Authority – Administrative records GA28)
  3. Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
  4. Records Management Policy (UOW)
  5. Privacy Policy (UOW)
  6. Finalisation of Student Results Policy (UOW)
Activity
Retention requirement
Disposal/ Custody/ Transfer
Responsibility
1 Assessment Policy and Procedures
1.1
Master set of policies
 
Retain 10 years after policy superseded.
Required as State Archives
Academic Quality and Standards Division
1.2
Master set of procedures
Retain minimum 10 years after procedure superseded.
Then destroy
Academic Quality and Standards Division
1.3
Records relating to the development and maintenance of policies and procedures.
Retain minimum 10 years after policy or procedure superseded.
 
Then destroy
Academic Quality and Standards Division
2 Assessment Committees - records and minutes
2.1
Master set of minutes, agenda and related papers.
Retain for minimum of 5 years after action completed or decision made.
Then destroy
Faculties
3 Subject resources and material used in course delivery
3.1
Including subject outlines, assignment lists, study guides etc.
Retain at least until no longer required for teaching or other purposes e.g. historical records and later student requests for Advanced Standing (10 years is recommended).
Then destroy
Faculties
4 Student Academic Misconduct
All records and documents relating to student academic misconduct and particularly to misconduct which may affect academic grades or assessments such as plagiarism or cheating in exams. Includes investigations, appeals, reporting, notification, allegations, recommendations and disciplinary action taken.
NB: Student Administration Services Division will continue to maintain the database on student academic misconduct.
NB: See 4.5 for cases that involve abuse or neglect of children.
4.1
Records relating to disciplinary proceedings where a student is found to have committed a breach and serious disciplinary action is taken.
Retain for minimum of 6 years after date of graduation or discontinuation of course of study.
 
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
4.2
Records relating to disciplinary proceedings where a student is found to have committed a breach but minor or no disciplinary action is taken.
Retain for a minimum of 2 years after date of graduation or discontinuation of course or study.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
4.3
Records relating to preliminary/fact finding investigations of misconduct that were not proceeded with and disciplinary matters where a student is found not to have committed a breach. This includes allegations found to be false, vexatious, unsubstantiated or misconceived or could not be proven.
Retain for minimum of 1 year after action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
4.4
 
Meeting papers, including master set of minutes and agenda of Student Conduct Committees.
Retain for minimum of 10 years and action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties (Faculty managed cases)
Academic Quality and Standards Division (Student Conduct Committee managed cases)
4.5
 
Records of cases involving suspected or proven abuse or neglect of children.
Retain for minimum of 99 years after action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties
People and Culture Division (staff)
Information Compliance Unit (students)
5 Student Complaints & Appeals/Academic Consideration Requests
Appeals, grievances and complaints relating to examination/assessment results.
Requests from students that student academic consideration be given due to circumstances which affected their performance in an examination or assessment activity.
5.1
Records and documents relating to appeals, reassessment, academic consideration, grievances and complaints.
Retain for minimum of 5 years after that date of graduation or discontinuation of course of study.
Then destroy
Academic Quality and Standards Division
Faculties
Student Ombudsman
6 Student Assessment Tasks – assessment by written or oral examination, assignments, presentation, thesis, etc
This relates to students’ assessment tasks which have been made available for collection but are unclaimed and remain in the custody of the Academic Unit or Faculty.
Thesis refers to Research Paper worth at least 24 credit points.
Minor Thesis refers to Research Paper worth less than 24 credit points.
NB: This does not relate to the Libraries requirements on the retention of theses.
6.1
Assessment work with the exception of theses.
 
Retain at least until the end of the appeal period, with the exemption of theses.
Then destroy
Faculties
6.2
Theses submitted or completed by students for the purposes of assessment or evaluation.
Retain for minimum of 3 years after date of submission unless the faculty has a policy to retain theses.
Then destroy
Faculties
 
6.3
Exam answer papers.
Retain for 1 year after end of the examination period.
Then destroy
Faculties
6.4
 
Professional Experience – administrative records for arrangements and liaison with placement providers.
Retain for minimum of 1 year after action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties
 
6.5
Professional Experience – summary records for courses of study where the number of hours completed and proof of satisfactory performance may be required for accreditation purposes (e.g. nursing and teaching professional experience).
Retain for 50 years after completion of course of study.
 
Then destroy
Faculties
 
7 Results
Grading/marking of individual assessment components of a subject or course such as assignments, essays, theses.
All individual assessment task marks, or composite marks up to 10% for equivalent tasks worth 3% or less, must be entered into SMP at or before the time the mark is provided to the student so that a central record is maintained. Where it is not practical to maintain individual assessment task marks in SMP, result spreadsheets should be kept in the University’s network drive so that they are included in periodic IT back up exercises.
NB This does not include the final grade of a subject or course or the actual assessment items.
7.1
Any records relating to the marking, or grading of individual assessment components of a subject or course e.g. class rolls, spreadsheet of results.
NB: These records need to be retained to allow students the opportunity to appeal.
Retain for minimum of 1 year after end of appeal period.
 
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
7.2
Records of determination of final results/grades
Retain for minimum of 1 year after end of appeal period.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
7.3
Records relating to appeals of grades.
Retain for minimum of 1 year after action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
7.4
Records relating to changes to assessment results.
 
Retain for minimum of 6 years after completion or discontinuation of course or program of study.
Then destroy
Student Administration Services Division
Faculties
8 Transcripts/final results
The official record of the marks/grades achieved by a student in the course of the degree or program undertaken.
8.1
Student academic transcript/final results.
 
Required as State Archives
Student Administration Services Division
8.2
Final grades of non-award courses.
Retain for minimum of 75 years after action completed.
Then destroy
Student Administration Services Division
Faculties
8.3
Results of externally accredited courses (e.g. VETAB).
Retain for minimum of 30 years after action completed.
Then destroy
Student Administration Services Division
Faculties
8.4
 
 
Paper records of student academic transcript/final results which have been converted to electronic format and records relating to requests for academic transcripts.
Retain until no longer required for reference purposes.
 
Then destroy
 
Student Administration Services Division
8.5
Records relating to requests for verification of qualifications or graduation status.
Retain for minimum of 1 year after action completed.
Then destroy
Student Administration Services Division
9 Records and administrative arrangements for examinations and assessment activities e.g. classes, tutorials and laboratory sessions.
Includes supervision, timetabling, eligibility lists, provision of materials, objections to taking part, special accommodation arrangements.
9.1
Records relating to attendance e.g., rolls, sick leave forms, medical certificates.
Retain for 1 year after end of the examination period.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
9.2
Records relating to attendance for professional experience where students are working with children e.g. nursing and education.
Retain for minimum of 10 years after action completed.
Then destroy
Faculties
9.3
Records relating to administration of examinations and assessment activities.
Retain until no longer required for reference use.
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
9.4
Examinations – master set of question paper.
 
Required as State Archives
Faculties
10 Records relating to assessment of students in order to identify those whose progression may require intervention e.g. Minimum Rate of Progress
Includes decisions, requests from students to ‘show cause’, notification of exclusion and conditional enrolment, documentation from students, monitoring of student progress and appeals.
10.1
Records relating to assessment of students in relation to minimum rate of progress.
Retain for minimum of 6 years after student has completed or discontinued course of study
Then destroy
Faculties
Student Administration Services Division
10.2
Records of committees (including ad hoc committees) responsible for assessing student progression cases.
Retain for minimum of 6 years after action completed.
Then destroy
Student Administration Services Division
Faculties
11 Supervision of Higher Degree Research Students
Supervision of higher degree students (e.g. Masters & PHD level students).
11.1
Records, policies and procedures relating to the supervision of Higher Degree Research Students, including advice and liaison between a Supervisor and student.
Retain for 7 years after Higher Degree awarded.
 
Then destroy
Graduate Research School
11.2
Records relating to appointment of thesis examiner, assessors and supervisors.
Retain for 7 years after Higher Degree awarded.
Then destroy
Graduate Research School
11.3
Thesis examiners/assessors’ reports and related records.
Retain for 7 years after Higher Degree awarded.
Then destroy
Graduate Research School
11.4
Thesis or other significant work.
Retain for 7 years after Higher Degree awarded.
Copy retained in Library
Graduate Research School
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Section 14 - Definitions

(129) All definitions relating to Teaching and Assessment are detailed in section 7 of the Teaching and Assessment - Code of Practice - Teaching.