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4. Assessment Design

4.1 Assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Assessment tasks should both measure and develop the relevant learning outcomes, graduate attributes and generic skills embedded into courses and units in the context of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary learning.  Assessment tasks vary throughout the University according to the academic discipline.  Assessment should both help students learn (assessment for learning) and measure their learning (assessment of learning).

4.2 Assessment grading will be criterion-referenced.  Criteria and standards of achievement are set in advance and student performance is evaluated according to those criteria.

4.3 Assessment tasks will be designed so that they -

  1. are discipline-based and relate to any discipline accreditation requirements and Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) (http://www.aqf.edu.au/) and Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) (http://www.teqsa.gov.au/) standards;
  2. explicitly link to and assist students to achieve the specified learning outcomes for the unit;
  3. address specific graduate attributes and/or generic skills embedded within the unit;
  4. use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes of the unit;
  5. challenge students to deeper learning and provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their full capabilities;
  6. use valid criteria and standards that discriminate between and enable differentiation of students’ levels of achievement;
  7. are comparable when offered at more than one location and/or study mode;
  8. are weighted commensurate with the level of the unit, the amount of work required and the unit learning objectives being tested by that task;
  9. are inclusive and reflect awareness of potential gender, racial and cultural bias;
  10. promote equal opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and for students with disabilities;
  11. conform to all policies and guidelines on human research1 ethics in the case of assessment and/or other learning tasks in coursework units that involve students and/or lecturers in projects with human participants.

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4.4 Design of first year assessment

4.4.1 All units at the first year (100 level) should include feedback within the first six weeks of a standard study period2.  Such feedback may take a variety of forms including, but not limited to -

  1. feedback on an early, low risk, lightly weighted assessment task;
  2. feedback on a draft or a portion of an assessment task;
  3. a self-assessment task where feedback is provided;
  4. feedback on a hurdle task;
  5. online activities where students can test their understanding and obtain feedback;
  6. group and/or workshop tasks where group members provide feedback to one another; or
  7. other means by which students can be provided with feedback on their learning as determined by the Lecturer in Charge.

4.4.2 Assessment in the first year should integrate the skills that students need for tertiary level study.

4.4.3 The assessment process will facilitate the identification of students who are experiencing difficulties with, for example, English language or academic literacy; students so identified will be directed to appropriate University support.

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4.5 Design of group assessments

4.5.1 Group and/or collaborative work should account for no more than 30% of the total assessment in a unit, unless specific learning outcomes for the unit require collaborative work; in such cases, no more than 50% of the total assessment may be group and/or collaborative work unless justified by the Lecturer in Charge and approved by the Executive Dean or nominee.

4.5.2 The responsibilities of each individual group member in completing each group assessment task and the degree of collaboration permitted and/or required will be clearly stated in the Unit Outline.

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4.6 Number and weighting of assessment tasks

4.6.1 A recommended assessment schedule for any one unit should include two or three assessment tasks, none of which should have a weighting of more than 65 percent3 of the total assessment in a unit.

4.6.2 Assessment schedules should –

  1. be articulated in the Unit Outline;
  2. provide a reasonable spread of assessment tasks throughout the study period;
  3. take account of overall workload for students4 and provision of time for marking and feedback by staff;
  4. facilitate the provision of timely feedback to assist students to achieve the unit’s learning outcomes.

4.6.3 Hurdle tasks may be included within individual units as compulsory requirements that must be met in order to pass the unit.  The workload for hurdle tasks for a unit must be counted in the workload of students and staff.

4.6.4 Achievement of a pass in all individual assessment tasks in a unit is not normally a prerequisite for passing in the unit overall, unless the task is related to required discipline specific competency standards, and that requirement is specified in the Unit Outline.

4.6.5 For units with central examinations, no other assessment tasks should be due after the final week of teaching.

4.6.6 For units without a central examination, the due date for submission of an assessment task or an assessment activity may be scheduled during the examination period provided that, if there is a clash between an assessment activity and a scheduled examination, the scheduled central examination will take precedence and the assessment activity will be rescheduled.

4.6.7 For all units, no assessments should normally be scheduled for the study week.  Where adjustments are required due to the effect of a public holiday, requirements of professional experience programs or unforeseen circumstances that affect the delivery of the unit, a Head of School may approve that an assessment task or the due date for submission of an assessment task be scheduled during study week.

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1 Human Research Ethics (http://www.acu.edu.au/162020).
2 Or proportionately in non-standard study periods.
3 See Guidelines on Student Workloads (http://www.acu.edu.au/421691)
4 See Guidelines on Student Workloads (http://www.acu.edu.au/421691)

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