Section 1 - Background and Purpose
(1) Assessment of coursework learning outcomes is both the key mechanism for assuring learning outcomes and a central feature of the student learning experience. This Policy provides the principles for assuring the quality of student assessment at La Trobe. Associated procedures and schedules detail the mechanisms through which this is achieved.
(2) This Policy and its procedures should be read in conjunction with the following policies and their related procedures:
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- the Course and Subject Management Policy
- the Course Design Policy
- the Academic Integrity Policy
Section 2 - Scope
(3) This Policy applies to all assessment activities in all coursework subjects in award programs, regardless of mode, location or enrolment status. Unless otherwise stated this includes:
- thesis subjects in coursework degrees, including those undertaken during an Honours year;
- coursework subjects in higher degrees by research.
(4) This Policy does not apply to the research components of higher degrees by research.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement
(5) Assessment activities in coursework offered by the University are:
- designed and approved as part of new course and subject proposals under the provisions of the Course and Subject Management and Course Design policies;
- monitored on a continuing basis and regularly reviewed under the provisions of the Course and Subject Management Policy;
- designed to align with the University’s Assessment Standards, and to meet the requirements of relevant legislation including the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.
(6) The design and implementation of assessment ensures that tasks are set at an appropriate level. This means that:
- assessment tasks are mapped across a course to ensure that they consistently and progressively evaluate the learning outcomes of subjects and courses;
- assessment practices are benchmarked, validated and reviewed to assure the quality and standard of assessment tasks and outcomes, including assuring:
- tasks are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed;
- assessment has the capacity to confirm that all specified learning outcomes and Graduate Capabilities are achieved;
- grades awarded reflect the level of student attainment.
- relevant stakeholders (employers, industry, students, teaching team) are actively consulted about assessment to inform the course and subject design and review processes.
(7) Assessment is designed to be fair and equitable and is designed to ensure that students have an opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes. This means that:
- assessment is standards and criterion-based, and not dependent upon cohort performance;
- assessment tasks are appropriate to the level and credit-point value of the subject, manageable for students in their scheduling, and reflect their weighting in the subject’s total assessment plan;
- assessment tasks/regimes are substantively the same between different instances of a subject, with variations only occurring in timing, contextual content, or technology, where required by circumstances;
- assessment for significant collaborative tasks provides opportunities for individual students to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes;
- adjustments to assessment tasks are available to students experiencing significant disadvantage.
(8) Assessment is intentionally designed to support student learning. This means that:
- assessment directly and authentically reflects the intended learning outcomes and wherever possible is integrated with learning activities;
- early assessment activities are scheduled in every subject, and outcomes are used to identify areas in which individual additional academic support or curricula emphasis are required;
- feedback on assessment tasks is timely, constructive, and formative;
- academic integrity expectations are defined and supported through assessment design and materials.
(9) Assessment material is securely retained for appropriate periods of time to support ongoing quality assurance and to meet the University’s obligations under the Public Records Act 1973 and other relevant legislation.
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Section 4 - Procedures
(10) Refer to:
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- Assessment Procedure - Adjustments to Assessment (for subjects commencing after 1 Nov 2021)
- Assessment Procedure - Examinations
- Assessment Procedure - Validation and Moderation
Section 5 - Definitions
(11) For the purpose of this Policy:
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- Assessment: wide variety of methods and tools that educators use to evaluate, measure and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition or educational needs of students. Broadly:
- pre- or diagnostic assessments are administered before students begin a topic, subject or course and are generally used to determine academic readiness or establish a baseline for the measurement of progress;
- formative assessments are in-process evaluations of student learning, providing students with early feedback on progress and areas for improvement, and teachers with information to inform adjustments to improve student learning;
- summative assessments are used to formally evaluate the outcome of student learning and academic achievement within a subject against set criteria and standards.
- Criterion-based assessment: students’ work is assessed with reference to written criteria derived from explicit learning outcomes. Each student’s grade in a subject is determined by the extent to which they have demonstrated achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Section 6 - Associated Documents
(12) Refer to:
- Assessment Standards
- Assessment Schedule - Grades and Administrative Codes
- Guidelines and templates on the Assessment Policy intranet