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Assessment Procedure

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Section 1 - Governing Policy

(1) This Procedure is governed by the Assessment Policy and should be read in conjunction with the Learning and Teaching Policy and the Examination Policy.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(2) This Procedure applies to:

  1. all units and microcredentials offered by ACU;
  2. students undertaking such units; and
  3. academic and professional staff with responsibility for assessment.

(3) The Procedure is not applicable to examination of research theses and projects to which the Higher Degree Research Regulations apply.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(4) General definitions in this document are consistent with the Assessment Policy and the Glossary of Student and Course Terms.

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Section 4 - Structure of the Procedure

(5) Assessment is a critical element of learning and teaching. It is a fundamental driver of adult learning and provides insight into student achievement of identified learning outcomes. Assessments should be integrated at appropriate points to assist a diverse range of students to engage with learning in an equitable manner and optimise their opportunities for success. The following procedures are designed to produce quality practices.

Unit Delivery Cycle

(6) Procedurally, assessment within ACU’s units is cyclical in nature, with the following core activities as the basis of the cycle:

  1. Assessment design;
  2. Student participation and engagement;
  3. Provision of student feedback;
  4. Marking and grading of assessment tasks;
  5. Accommodating flexibility and supporting equity;
  6. Assessment evaluation and quality assurance.

(7) While these activities will often follow on from each other, the order is not fixed, and activities may at times be completed together. The core assessment activities provide the primary structure for this Procedure. When reading the Assessment Procedure, reference is made to aspects of the Learning and Teaching Policy. These two documents are focussed on the student experience and achievement of learning outcomes.

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Section 5 - Phase 1 - Assessment Design

(8) Vertical and horizontal integration, Responsible - Faculty Boards:

  1. Assessment should provide sufficient variety across units within one year level;
  2. The level of assessments must progress as students advance within and through program levels;
  3. Assessment opportunities that promote collaboration should be included throughout a program of study;
  4. Assessment due dates across a year level should be spread to allow a manageable workload for students; and
  5. An integrated, whole of curriculum approach to assessment must be taken when designing course-level curriculum.

(9) Generic Unit Outline (GUO) development and review, Responsible - Faculty Boards:

  1. Assessments should be valid, constructively aligned to learning outcomes and appropriate to the year level.
  2. 100-level assessments must be designed for early identification of students at risk of failing or withdrawing from the unit. Formative and / or summative assessment may be used for this purpose.
  3. Assessments should build progressively in complexity across an individual unit to assess higher-level learning outcomes.
  4. Assessments should be weighted according to the importance of the unit learning outcomes being assessed by each task and the level of difficulty of work required.
  5. The minimum number of assessments should be set to make a reliable determination of the achievement of learning outcomes and in alignment with the Academic Workload Policy. For a 10 credit point unit this should normally be between 2-5 items of assessment.
  6. Learning outcomes should normally be assessed more than once in a unit.
  7. Requirements to achieve a pass must be explained to enable students to achieve learning outcomes. It must be made clear in the GUO that to pass a unit, students must demonstrate achievement of every unit learning outcome, pass hurdle tasks, and obtain a minimum mark of 50% in graded units.
  8. Compulsory or minimum levels of attendance may be prescribed for any professional experience or community experience program or any practical, laboratory or skill-based classes in which attendance is integral to achievement of the learning outcomes of the unit.
  9. A hurdle task may be included in a unit as a compulsory task that must be completed to pass the unit provided that a rationale for the hurdle task is provided.
  10. Hurdle tasks may be graded or ungraded.
  11. Ungraded hurdle tasks are not awarded a mark and therefore do not contribute to the overall mark or grade.
  12. Graded hurdle tasks are awarded a mark which contributes to the overall unit mark and grade. The pass mark for graded hurdles must be specified (normally 50%).
  13. Where hurdle tasks are used, the number of attempts available to students to pass must be stated.
  14. Assessment tasks should be modified for each teaching iteration to promote assessment security and integrity. This does not require changes to assessments in the Generic Unit Outline (GUO).

(10) Unit level - Learning Management System (LMS), National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent:

  1. Assessment task and submission requirements must be communicated in the LMS and developed from the current published version of GUO on the Course Management Approval System (CMAS).
  2. Additional assessment requirements to pass a unit beyond those in the GUO must not be added.
  3. A detailed description of assessment requirements is necessary to ensure constructive alignment to learning outcomes.

(11) Units delivered across multiple courses:

  1. Where a unit is delivered across multiple campuses, refer to the Learning and Teaching Procedure.
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Section 6 - Student participation and engagement

(12) It is the responsibility of students to engage actively in the learning process, to participate according to relevant course, unit and assessment requirements, and to adhere to this and other related University policies and procedures.

  1. Students are expected to regularly check their University email account, LMS and any other communication media used for the unit.
  2. Consult with the Lecturer in Charge if seeking advice or clarification regarding assessment in a unit.
  3. Complete assessment tasks in accordance with the Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy and Student Academic Misconduct Procedure.
  4. Meet all assessment requirements as specified in the LMS.
  5. Complete online ‘Declaration of Originality' in the LMS for the study period's assessment. If a hard copy is required for an assessment task, this is to be completed and submitted with the task.
  6. Submit assessment tasks in the manner prescribed in the LMS.
  7. Retain a hard copy and electronic copies of all written work submitted for assessment except in case of tests and / or examinations. For artworks or other practical items, a photograph with evidence of submission date should be retained.
  8. Contribute fully to group work assessment tasks.
  9. Notify the Lecturer in Charge in a timely manner and provide evidence should there be any difficulties or concerns with group work.
  10. Group members are required to sign the 'Declaration of Originality' as described in the LMS and ensure the task is submitted by the due date and time.
  11. Actively engage with all synchronous and asynchronous activities as outlined in the LMS.
  12. Satisfy all compulsory or minimum attendance requirements specified in the LMS.
  13. Access online assessment tasks or collect hard copy assessment tasks in the manner prescribed. Students may give written authority for another person to collect a physical assessment task on their behalf.
  14. Review and act on feedback received on assessment tasks. Feedback methods may include rubrics, notations on assessment tasks, in-class / online discussion, feedback posted electronically discussing the strengths and weaknesses of students' answers generically or individually.
  15. If clarification is required regarding the mark or grade awarded for an assessment task, the Lecturer in Charge or other relevant staff member should be consulted within 10 working days after return of the mark or grade.
  16. Students should note that it is routine practice for samples of students' work to be used for moderation.
  17. Students seeking extension of time or special consideration should do so in accordance with Section 9 of this Procedure.
  18. Clarification of final results should be done in accordance with Section 8 of this Procedure.
  19. Students who are granted Supplementary Assessments are required to make themselves available to undertake this as scheduled by the University.
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Section 7 - Phase 2 - Feedback in units

(13) Nature and quality of feedback:

  1. Assessments should be planned to ensure they create opportunities to provide students with feedback for ongoing learning and development.
  2. Feedback should be both formative and summative.
  3. Feedback should provide opportunities for students to actively consolidate learning and guide future performance.
  4. Appropriate feedback should be provided on all summative assessment tasks and hurdle tasks.
  5. The provision of formative feedback is integrated into the learning and teaching strategy and delivery of units.

(14) Timing of feedback, Responsible - National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent:

  1. Feedback (including marks) should be provided to students to inform work on the next related assessment, normally no longer than three weeks from the due date and time of submission and where possible before the next assignment is due.
  2. Assignments should be returned to students where a business day follows.
  3. Upon request and within the time limit outlined in the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule, students should be provided with an opportunity to review the exam they completed.
  4. The scope and type of feedback may differ depending on the assessment type.

(15) Mechanism for feedback, Responsible - National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent:

  1. The LMS is the formal mechanism for providing feedback.
  2. Marks and grades are to be recorded in the LMS.
  3. Evidence must be retained that feedback has been provided, when it was provided, and what the feedback was.
  4. Rubrics should be considered where they provide a sound structure for feedback. Students should have access to rubrics in the LMS in the first week of the semester.
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Section 8 - Phase 3 - Grading in units

(16) Determining grades - Individual assessments, Responsible - National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent:

  1. Processes must be adopted to ensure consistent standards are applied when assessing student work.
  2. Where there are multiple markers for an assessment, consensus moderation will be applied.
  3. To support consensus moderation, markers may be provided with a marking guide.
  4. A mark and / or grade is determined by a student’s performance against the assessment criteria. 5% of the total marks available for an assessment will be deducted for every 24 hours (or part thereof) that the assessment is late - up to a maximum of 72 hours (and hence 15%). Assessment tasks received more than 72 hours after the due or extended date and time will not be allocated a mark.
  5. Numerical marks must not be returned to students prior to moderation.

(17) Communication with students:

  1. Staff must provide sufficient detail on how marks and grades are determined. Details should be provided no less than 2 weeks prior to the beginning of semester in the LMS.
  2. Students are entitled to seek clarification of marks and grades awarded. Students must provide sufficient detail to clarify the aspect of the mark or grade for which they are seeking feedback. Clarification may include the following:
    1. check that the mark / grade awarded, and the feedback provided was appropriate;
    2. an explanation of the assessment criteria;
    3. an explanation of the judgement made for the award of the mark or grade;
    4. check that the final mark has been calculated correctly;
    5. provide an opportunity to review marked exams; and
    6. a review of submission and / or attendance records.
  3. Staff must give students clear information on the circumstances under which they may lodge a request for formal review under the Student Appeals Policy.

(18) Final grades within units:

  1. Overall unit results must be calculated and ratified in line with the Student Results Procedure.
  2. Academics are not required to release marks of the final assessment before final grades are released for that unit.
  3. Assessment records are retained in line with the Records Retention and Disposal Schedule.
  4. Where there has been an alleged failure to comply with the requirements of the Assessment Policy or Assessment Procedure, a student may request a formal review or appeal in accordance with the Student Appeals Policy.
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Section 9 - Phase 4 - Accommodating flexibility to support diverse student needs

(19) Reasonable modifications to assessment requirements may be required to support the individual needs of a diverse range of students. The degree of modification required will vary depending on the degree to which a student is impacted by an adverse event or requires reasonable adjustments to address barriers to their ability to succeed.

(20) The needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and other cultural groups should be taken into consideration in modifying assessment requirements.

(21) Extensions, Responsible - Lecturer in Charge (LIC):

  1. Where students are unable to meet the assessment deadline, students must submit an Extension Request Form at least 24 hours prior to due date.
  2. The LIC is to advise the student on whether their request is supported and appropriate additional time for submission via ACU email or LMS notification within 2 working days from lodgement of application.
  3. Students may be asked to submit evidence of current progress of their assessment task to their LIC to assist with the determination of an appropriate extension period.
  4. If current progress of an assessment task is not submitted, upon request, an LIC will usually provide a maximum extension of up to 3 days for students without an Education Inclusion Plan or up to 7 days for students with an Education Inclusion Plan.
  5. Notwithstanding processes in c. and d., an LIC may usually grant 1-14 days, but no longer than 21 days, additional time to complete and submit assessment task.
  6. A register of extension applications must be retained within the School.

(22) Special Consideration

  1. Where completion of an assessment task has been significantly hampered by exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control and where other processes are not applicable or are no longer possible because of the timing and / or severity of the circumstances, students may submit a Special Consideration request.

(23) Ongoing impairment / disability - Education Inclusion Plan, Responsible - Disability Advisors

  1. Reasonable adjustments are required for students with disabilities in line with the Students with Disability Policy and Students with Disability Procedure.

(24) Flexibility in defined circumstances - Elite Athlete and Performer Program Policy, Responsible - Lecturer in Charge (LIC)

  1. Refer to the Roles and responsibilities for staff and students under the Elite Athlete and Performer Program Policy.

(25) Supplementary Assessment, Responsible - Lecturer in Charge (LIC)

  1. Supplementary assessment is provided to support students' learning, their development, and to aid their course progression and completion. It applies to eligible students for the duration of their course of study. Supplementary assessment is not a re-assessment of the student's overall grade, or the mark for an individual assessment item, or a deferred assessment. It consists of a new item (or items) of assessment designed to give students an additional (i.e., supplementary) opportunity to demonstrate their satisfactory attainment of specific learning outcomes as specified for the unit.
  2. Students falling within the range of 45-49% in a unit may be awarded an interim fail (NF) grade and may be eligible for a supplementary assessment.
  3. Supplementary assessment is available to students in units where:
    1. the course rules do not preclude supplementary assessment;
    2. the unit is not a professional experience or community engagement unit;
    3. the student has satisfied any compulsory attendance requirements for the unit; and
    4. the student has passed any applicable ungraded hurdle task.
  4. Students awarded NF grades are given the opportunity to demonstrate their satisfactory attainment of specific learning outcomes as specified for the unit.
  5. Staff must clearly communicate requirements and format of a supplementary assessment to students.
  6. An appropriate task is developed and made available to students to demonstrate attainment of learning outcomes for which evidence is required.
  7. A student with more than one NF grade in a given study period is not eligible for supplementary assessment in any unit.
  8. A student who obtains NF in one unit, and who passes all other units, will be offered supplementary assessment in that unit through a notification by the LIC within 3 working days of results release dates.
  9. The highest grade which can be awarded to students who successfully complete supplementary assessment requirements is a 50% mark and a Pass (PA) grade.
  10. Students who are unsuccessful in meeting supplementary assessment requirements will have the original mark applied and be awarded a Fail (NN) grade.
  11. Supplementary assessment will overlap with the deferred examination period but will not commence until 6 days following the release of results for that semester or study period.
  12. Supplementary assessment is subject to the same considerations under the Academic Regulations and policies (including the Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy, Special Consideration Procedure and Student Appeals Policy and processes) as for standard assessment.
  13. Results in courses gained by students undertaking approved cross-institutional study will be considered, where possible, in determining eligibility for supplementary assessment.
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Section 10 - Phase 5 - Evaluation Of Assessments within units to inform Quality Enhancement

(26) Post unit delivery assessment review, Responsible - National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent

  1. Where possible, consensus moderation of assessment must take place after each relevant assessment is completed to determine any variations in results between markers and / or campuses, identify underlying reasons for these. Assessment items should also be quality assured.
  2. Information about variations in results is used to inform modifications to subsequent unit assessments.
  3. Information about variations between markers is used to support teachers and markers to achieve consensus.
  4. At the conclusion of a unit, any relevant data is used to evaluate the effectiveness of assessments.
  5. Findings on the quality, authenticity, and effectiveness of assessments should be reported to the relevant Discipline Lead or equivalent.

(27) Change recommendations, Responsible - National Lecturer in Charge (NLIC) or equivalent

  1. As a process of continuous improvement, modifications may be required to assessment tasks and marking practices based on evidence generated through their implementation. This may require action at a range of levels to ensure ongoing improvement. The Course Accreditation, Amendment and Review Policy and Centre for Education and Innovation resources on Quality Assurance provide further information.
  2. Where a unit’s assessment regime meets quality and satisfaction benchmarks however, no changes need occur. For further information see the Learning and Teaching Procedure.
    1. Recommendations based on evidence of the quality, authenticity, and effectiveness of assessments should be considered after the delivery of a unit.
    2. A determination is made whether changes are required to ensure the quality of an assessment task is enhanced, and identification of a required change process. This may be at implementation level only or require a governance-level change process.
    3. A change process required to modify assessment tasks is led as appropriate.
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Section 11 - Definitions

(28) Terms used in this Procedure are consistent with the Glossary of Student and Course Terms. The following specific definitions also apply:

Term Definition
Assessment the process whereby student learning outcomes are measured and developed, feedback is given to students on their progress and final results are awarded.
Assessment criteria qualities or features of students’ work which allow it to be described. Assessment criteria are paired with “Performance standards.
Assessment literacy understanding the relationship between assessment design and learning. For staff, this means designing assessment to scaffold a progressive development of different kinds of knowledge in accordance with adult learning theory. For students, this means using an understanding of the purpose of assessment to inform learning, including the ability to self-assess.
Asynchronous learning activities are where educational activities, discussions, and assignments engage students in learning at their own pace.
Consensus moderation any process by which a person can ensure that their judgements are broadly consistent with colleagues with comparable expertise. It generally involves some form of peer review and reference to internal and external benchmarks.
Constructive alignment teaching is designed to engage students in learning activities that optimise their chances of achieving learning outcomes, and assessment tasks are designed to enable clear judgments as to how well those outcomes have been attained. (Biggs, 2014 pgs. 5-6)
Equivalent assessment assessment activities undertaken within one context which work to achieve comparable learning outcomes to assessment activities in another context. For assessment in two different contexts there is no requirement for them to be identical.
Formative assessment is intended to monitor student learning. It provides feedback to teachers to improve teaching and to students to improve learning. Formative assessment and feedback occur in relation to both general learning activities undertaken in a unit and as part of formal assessments that generate a final grade.
Horizontal integration designing assessments that are linked across units that students engage in during the same time period.
Hurdle requirement an assessment task that is mandatory to complete and pass to achieve a passing grade in a unit.
Learning outcomes what students should be able to demonstrate they know, understand, or can do at the completion of a learning experience, unit, or course.
Performance standards descriptions of different levels of performance on assessment criteria.
Pre-assessment before students undertake their assessment tasks. Aspects include assessment strategy and assessment item design, the specification of assessment criteria and performance standards, ensuring all teaching staff have a shared understanding of these.
Peri-assessment while students undertake assessment, and while it is marked. Aspects include explaining tasks to students, maintaining a shared understanding of the tasks, criteria and standards, marking, providing formative feedback to students.
Post assessment after all assessments are completed and marked but prior to moderation. Includes reviewing task design, criteria and performance standards, reviewing samples of students work to verify and improve validity, identifying trends and potential issues prior to publication of marks, and grade administration.
Quality assurance activities that serve to improve the quality of learning, teaching and assessment. As a process, the quality assurance cycle involves planning, implementation, evaluation, and action to improve.
Scaffold learning activities, resources, and assessments support learning in a developmental way that aligns with adult learning theory. For example, helping students to progress from learning content, to concepts, and then to developing the ability to apply these.
Summative assessment in general, is intended to evaluate student learning by comparing it against a predetermined standard or benchmark. Whilst evaluation is the primary function of summative assessment, they should also be used for formative purposes. These tasks must be marked and contribute formally to final grades.
Synchronous Learning Activity is an interactive learning activity in which all students are participating simultaneously e.g., tutorials.
Vertical integration Assessments that build on previous learning in a unit, year, or program of study.
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Section 12 - Revisions to this Procedure

(29) In line with the Policy Development and Review Policy, this Procedure will be reviewed in line with the governing policy and is scheduled for review every five years or more frequently if appropriate.

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Section 13 - Further Assistance

(30) The Centre for Education and Innovation provides a wide range of resources to enable high-quality, engaged learning experiences. For further support or queries please email

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Section 14 - Associated Information

(31) For related legislation, policies, procedures and guidelines and any supporting resources please refer to the Associated Information tab.