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Assessment Standards

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Section 1 - Key Information

Policy Type and Approval Body Academic – Academic Board
Accountable Executive – Policy Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible Manager – Policy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)
Review Date 22 April 2027
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Section 2 - Purpose

(1) These Standards set out the expectations that the University holds for assessment in subjects and courses, and should be read in conjunction with the Assessment Policy and its associated procedures.

(2) The Standards draw from expected good practice in institutions across Australia, as well as the work of scholars and researchers in this field. They are not intended to be exhaustive, but lay a foundation for good practice while providing scope for staff to engage in continuous improvement in assessment design.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) Refer to the Assessment Policy.

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Section 4 - Key Decisions

Key Decisions  Role
Oversight of the Assessment Standards Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)
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Section 5 - Policy Statement

(4) This procedure forms part of the Assessment Policy suite which governs its application.

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Section 6 - Standards

Part A - Overview

(5) Assessment determines whether students have achieved subject and course Intended Learning Outcomes and to what standard. Assessment also shapes learning and is therefore one of the most important elements within the teaching and learning process for both teachers and students.

(6) Significant attention is paid by students to assessment activities, their criteria and weighting. It is critical that these features of assessment are calibrated to guide and support learning.

(7) The principles outlined in the Assessment Policy apply to all assessments and are supported by the following rules. Exceptions to these rules may be allowed where supported by an academic justification (for example, professional accreditation requirements).

(8) Students are informed about the assessment for individual subjects through the following channels:

  1. University Handbook entries show the assessment regime for each subject, including broad information about the types of assessment and the allocation towards the final result;
  2. full details of assessment are provided to students in the Subject Learning Guide in the Learning Management System a minimum of two weeks prior to the commencement of the teaching period, and wherever possible, discussed with students at the start of the subject. Such details include:
    1. the type, weighting and timing of assessment, including any requirements for submission of sub-tasks for grading prior to final assessment;
    2. any mandatory requirements (such as attendance requirements and hurdles), and options for students who are unable to meet or fail these requirements;
    3. the criteria for assessment, the relationship to learning outcomes and the performance expectations on which grading is based.

(9) Changes to details of assessment not requiring formal committee approval, such as assignment briefs and schedules, may be made up to two weeks prior to the commencement of the teaching period with the approval of the Course Coordinator.

Part B - Assessing for Learning

(10) The majority of assessments conducted within the teaching period, whether graded or ungraded, are developmental in nature and provide students with an opportunity to apply feedback to subsequent assessment activities. Such opportunities may include subsequent development of the same item following feedback in later assessment tasks where possible.

(11) Assessment encourages academic integrity through the use of progressive assessment (a cumulative series of activities) and/or in-class assessment activities requiring students to demonstrate their evolving knowledge and skills.

(12) A list of criteria or a rubric is provided for each assessment task in a subject to provide students with clear expectations about the type and level of performance required to successfully complete the task.

(13) Exemplars of relevant completed assessments are provided to students wherever possible.

(14) Qualitative feedback is provided in time for students to apply it to subsequent relevant learning or assessment, normally within 15 business days of submission, or within a shorter timeframe as appropriate for subjects with a shorter teaching period. Feedback may be peer-based, whole of group or individual feedback, depending on the nature of the assessment.

(15) Feedback links to supports or resources that facilitate further learning wherever possible.

Part C - Timing and Weighting of Assessment in Non-Thesis Subjects

(16) No single assessment item is weighted at more than 60% of the final grade for a subject unless assessment is comprised of a major portfolio or thesis. In this case individual sub-tasks are not hurdles and should demonstrably build up to a body of work that is assessed in terms of the totality of learning over time.

(17) Simple multiple-choice tests make up no more than 40% of the final grade in a subject.

(18) The scheduling of assessment due dates takes into account the composition of assessment in subjects for a course.  Wherever possible assessment due dates are  not scheduled during the SWOTVAC period where most subjects in a course have heavily weighted assessment taking place during the centrally scheduled assessment period.

(19) An assessment task weighted at 30% or less of the total assessment takes place early within the relevant teaching period in order to assess individual skills, guide needed emphasis in the curriculum, identify support needs and students who are academically at risk. The timing is adapted for the various teaching periods:

  1. for a semester-based subject within the first third of the period;
  2. for year-long subjects within the first six weeks;
  3. for a term-based subject within the first two weeks.

Part D - Group Assessment Tasks

(20) Group assessment tasks are only used where a learning outcome of the subject requires students to demonstrate collaboration or teamwork skills.

(21) Where a group assessment task is weighted at 50% or more of the final grade in a subject, individual students are given an opportunity to demonstrate their individual achievement of the learning outcomes.

(22) The Subject Coordinator advises students how group assessment tasks will be assessed and the extent to which students will receive individual or a shared group mark.

Part E - Assessment of Attendance

(23) Attendance in subjects is not mandatory except where there is a necessary minimum attendance for practice, performance or external requirements, such as for accreditation, a placement or practice assessment.

(24) In subjects where attendance for specific activities is mandatory students are advised through the Subject Learning Guide on the LMS, and verbally or in writing at the commencement of the particular activity of the following:

  1. that specified minimum attendance at a particular activity or series of activities is required in addition to the standard subject information;
  2. under what circumstances and with what documentation a student is permitted to miss a session. These requirements must align with University procedures as outlined in the Assessment Procedure - Adjustments to Assessment (incorporating Special Consideration);
  3. students’ options for completion if they fail to meet the attendance requirements, e.g. make-up sessions, alternative activities.

(25) In subjects where attendance is mandatory, records are kept and students are given access to their own attendance records upon request.

Part F - Hurdle Task Requirements

(26) Within a subject, it is expected that the subject learning outcomes will be assessed using a variety of assessment tasks. However, in certain instances it may not be possible to assess a particular learning outcome using more than one assessment task. Such a learning outcome may involve the demonstration of a particular skill or activity:

  1. where the level of competency can only be assessed through an actual demonstration; or
  2. which is intrinsic to the student's ability to complete professional registration requirements.

(27) If the learning outcome associated with a task is considered to be critical to the student's progression in the subject then it is appropriate that this assessment be a hurdle task for the subject.

(28) The following are examples of where a hurdle assessment task may be appropriate:

  1. a culminating artistic or sporting performance;
  2. demonstration of a critical skill such as laboratory or health and safety skills;
  3. completion of a clinical, teaching or other placement that is required for practice.

(29) In subjects that have a hurdle assessment task, students must be advised in writing through the Subject Learning Guide and verbally at the commencement of the subject:

  1. that a particular assessment is a hurdle task;
  2. the reasons why this assessment is considered a hurdle requirement and the learning outcome or competency that is being assessed;
  3. options where students fail the hurdle task. Information on provisions for supplementary assessments are outlined in the Assessment Procedure - Adjustments to Assessment (incorporating Special Consideration).

Part G - Submission of Assessment Tasks

(30) Assignments are submitted online within the LMS wherever possible.

(31) All essays and reports or similar written assessments are submitted through Turnitin or other text-matching software for review and the resulting originality reports are reviewed by the assessor prior to grading.

Part H - Recording and Reporting of Results

(32) All results for assessments, including examination results, are recorded in Gradebook. Students are advised that all marks reported in Gradebook are subject to moderation processes.

(33) Final validated subject grades are only released to students via the Student Information Management System following moderation.

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Section 7 - Definitions

(34) For the purposes of these Standards:

  1. Simple multiple-choice questions are those that test a student’s recall or replication of knowledge content covered in a subject. This contrasts with more complex multiple-choice questions that test other subject learning outcomes, such as those providing opportunities for application, integration and evaluation. To be termed a simple multiple-choice test, all questions in the test or assessment task would be simple.
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Section 8 - Authority and Associated Information

(35) These Standards are made under the La Trobe University Act 2009.

(36) Associated information includes:

  1. Assessment Policy
  2. Assessment Procedure - Adjustments to Assessment (incorporating Special Consideration)
  3. Assessment Procedure - Examinations
  4. Assessment Procedure - Validation and Moderation
  5. Assessment Schedule - Grades and Administrative Codes
  6. Staff Guidelines for Calibrating Student Workload
  7. Guidelines and templates on the Assessment Policy intranet