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Assessment (Moderation and Integrity) Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) To articulate the University’s approach to maintaining consistency and integrity in assessment of student achievement.

(2) Moderation of assessment covers the entire assessment event, including the design and post-event analysis of the fitness of the assessment of student learning. Assessment tasks and outcomes each require moderation to ensure consistency in measurement of student achievement of intended learning outcomes including between different markers and locations.

(3) These Procedures apply to all coursework subjects.

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Section 2 - Scope

(4) Applies to:

  1. All campuses 
  2. All subjects
  3. All staff assessing student work 
  4. All students completing assessment tasks
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Moderation of Assessment Outcomes

(5) Assessment outcomes should be moderated using appropriate methods, taking into account staff workloads and constraints including teaching on multiple campuses and assessment timing.

(6) Where there are multiple instances of the subject and/or multiple people marking assessment tasks the University expects moderation of a selection of responses to assessment tasks. It is the responsibility of the Subject Coordinator to determine which responses should be moderated, in consultation with members of the Subject Teaching Team.

(7) Where there is more than one person marking an assessment task the use of marking schemes or grading descriptors indicating expected standards against assessment criteria will facilitate moderation of assessment outcomes.

Integrity

(8) Major Assessment tasks also require moderation, which may require the appointment of a ‘second examiner’ for individual tasks worth more than 20% of the final assessment in the subject. The ‘second examiner’ may be another member of the subject teaching team or a discipline expert.

(9) Student numbers rather than names are to be used as identifiers on examination papers, to facilitate anonymity of candidates.

(10) If a member of staff has, or has had, a significant personal relationship with a student, assessment tasks submitted by that student should be marked by a third party.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Part A - Assessment Design

(11) Assessment tasks should be aligned with learning activities designed to assess whether a student has achieved the intended learning outcomes for the subject and where appropriate, the course. Assessment tasks should be a mixture of both formative and summative assessments, each clearly defined with specified criteria and standards appropriate for the level of the students enrolled.

Part B - Moderation of Assessment Tasks

(12) Major Assessment tasks (worth more than 20% of the final grade in the subject) should be moderated to ensure tasks are:

  1. appropriate for the level of student enrolled both in terms of the task required and the amount of effort required;
  2. clearly defined;
  3. achievable;
  4. well defined in terms of criteria and standards.

Part C - Methods for Moderating Assessment Tasks

(13) Methods for moderating assessment tasks might include:

  1. having the Head of Discipline, Head of School, Course Coordinator and/or the Subject Teaching Team or other ‘second examiner’ review the assessment tasks;
  2. providing pre-assessment grading training for the Subject Teaching Team with responsibility for grading of assessment using examples of real student work.

Part D - Marking Schemes or Rubrics

(14) A marking scheme should be developed by the assessment task developer and provided to any person marking an assessment task. This should link the assessment criteria to the grading standards allowing assessment of a student’s achievement.

Part E - Moderation of Assessment Outcomes

(15) All assessment outcomes should be moderated for quality, fairness and consistency against the criteria and standards. Moderation is particularly important where assessments are graded by multiple staff and/or the subject is taught over multiple campuses.

(16) Some possible methods of moderating assessment outcomes include:

  1. Random sampling of assessed work and checking;
  2. Double marking of ‘A’s and ‘Fail’ grades;
  3. Double marking of a representative selection of items – a rule of thumb is a number equal to the square root of the number of assessed items, or five items, whichever is largest.
  4. Exchange marking of a selection of specified assessed work (e.g. examination, major essay etc.);
  5. Consensus moderation where staff come together, individually mark items and then compare results;
  6. Statistical analysis of grades awarded across all markers to detect significant variation, prior to release of grades.

Part F - Choice of Moderation Method

(17) In choosing a moderation method the Subject Coordinator needs to consider what the possible contributors to a lack of comparability may be. Some examples of situations that might call for different moderation methods include: 

  1. Assessment tasks are not common to all students 
  2. Assessment occurs on different campuses or in very large cohorts 
  3. Assessments involve multiple markers 
  4. Assessment is largely subjective 
  5. One person marks many papers
  6. Transient assessment activities such as performances or presentations 

Part G - Moderation versus Review

(18) Moderation of assessment outcomes by definition occurs prior to the ratification and release of results. After release of results examination of grade distributions or comparison of student work may only be used as a means of review and future improvement to the subject. Published student results may not be altered as a result of such reviews.

Part H - Anonymity of Examination Marking

(19) All efforts should be made to ensure anonymous grading of examinations. Student numbers are used as identifiers on formal examinations rather than student names.

Part I - Complaints

(20) If a student or other staff member considers that this Policy and Procedures are not being followed, a complaint should be made in accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy or Student Complaints Management Policy and associated procedures and guidelines.

(21) In most circumstances an approach to the staff member involved or to the Subject Coordinator would be the first step to take.

Part J - Subject Review Form 

(22) This form should be completed by the Subject Coordinator for any subjects:

  1. which are taught in more than one instance (a separate and distinct offering) and/or 
  2. in which more than one person has marked the assessment tasks.

(23) The form, once completed, should be provided to the Head of School at the end of each teaching period for his or her signature and referral as necessary.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(24) For the purposes of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Assessment Criteria: Used to measure the degree to which a student has achieved the intended learning outcomes for the subject.
  2. Blind Marking: where the marker does not have information enabling identification of the submitting student.
  3. Consensus moderation: Where teaching staff come together and individually mark a selection of papers and then compare outcomes. Useful for large cohorts to assist in a common understanding of standards.
  4. Double Marking: Requiring two different staff to mark the same piece of work submitted for assessment, where the original marks and comments are seen by the second marker.
  5. Double Blind Marking: where the second marker undertakes marking without information regarding the submitting student or the original marker’s identity, and is not provided the original marker’s comments or marks.
  6. Exchange Marking: Requiring two staff members to exchange certain pieces of student work for marking, so that (for example) a lecturer in Bundoora marks the examination scripts of Bendigo students and vice versa.
  7. External moderation: Having some assessment tasks common to those of another course or institution and applying collaborative or cross marking techniques.
  8. Major assessment task: Any task contributing 20% or more towards the final mark or grade for the subject
  9. Marking scheme: an indication of the expected standards for levels of achievement of the assessment criteria 
  10. Moderation: the process of scrutinising a selection of pieces of work from an assessment task to review and verify the level and consistency of the marks allocated by the markers against published assessment criteria.
  11. Panel Marking: Independent but concurrent assessment by two or more markers. It may be used for transient assessment work such as oral presentations, performance or clinical placement assessments.
  12. Pre-assessment moderation: A quality assurance process that aims to ensure the appropriateness, fairness, clarity and standard of assessment tasks and resources before they are used for assessment.
  13. Post-assessment moderation: includes quality control processes during and after marking to ensure consistent and accurate assessment decisions in accordance with published assessment criteria and standards of achievement.
  14. Second examiner: For the purpose of this policy, a second examiner is a qualified person who reviews assessment tasks prior to the administration of the task to the students.
  15. Standards: Describe the qualities or levels of achievement expected
  16. Subject Teaching Team: The Subject Coordinator, Instance Leaders and other staff teaching a subject, including sessional staff.
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Section 6 - Stakeholders

Responsibility for implementation – Course Coordinators; Subject Coordinators; All members of the Subject Teaching Team.
Responsibility for monitoring implementation and compliance – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); Education Committee; Coursework Committee; College Pro Vice- Chancellors; Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors (Coursework); Heads of School.