Assessment and Results Policy

Summary

This policy describes the requirements and principles governing assessment within Swinburne courses. 

Objectives

This policy aims to:

  • Provide the framework that ensures academic standards and integrity in the design and approval of assessment structures and tasks are met
  • Identify responsibilities and accountabilities for assessment decisions and processes
  • Ensure that assessment practices are transparent, consistent and fair

Scope

This policy applies to all Swinburne courses.


1. Swinburne's assessment principles

Swinburne's approach to assessment practice is guided by the following principles designed to enhance the learning experience and achievement of learning outcomes:

  • Assessment and feedback are designed to align with effective learning and teaching and enhance student engagement and achievement
  • Assessment design and practice assists students to develop their critical thinking skills, capacity for evaluative judgement and/or demonstrate practical competence to a required standard
  • Assessment is based on informative and transparent criteria, validity and measuring achievement against learning outcomes
  • Assessment is designed to ensure academic integrity of attainment of learning
  • Assessment is designed to be fair, valid, reliable and achievable
  • Assessment design and practice enables constructive and timely feedback to students to help them make judgements about the quality of their learning

2. Assessment structures for units

When designing, planning and approving assessment structures and items for units the University should be guided by:

  • Swinburne's Assessment Principles
  • Requirements of professional or regulatory bodies
  • Alignment with relevant and current discipline, professional and/or industry standards
  • Flexibility to accommodate variations for alternative learning modes and locations providing the equivalence requirements of the Academic Courses Regulations are met
  • Comparability of assessment structures and loads across units

Assessment structures must be consistent with the accredited requirements for units as outlined in the accreditation instrument approved by Academic Senate or in the requirements of the Training Package or State Accredited Course.

The University will provide students with a Unit Outline prior to or at the commencement of the teaching period. The Unit Outline must contain details of the assessment structures and all requirements for a student to successfully complete the unit. 

Assessment structures should generally include both formative and summative assessment items, and should generally include the opportunity for feedback to be provided to students at an early stage in the teaching period to allow students to monitor their progress towards the unit learning outcomes and to determine where improvements can be made to enhance their learning.

Assessment structures for a Unit of Study include features such as number, type, due dates and where applicable the weighting of assessment items. 

Assessment structures may include one or more in-semester assessment items and/or a final examination.
Assessment structures may include hurdle assessment items that are mandatory assessment items that are required to be completed and/or passed in order to achieve a pass result in the unit.  Hurdle assessment items or requirements must be clearly identified in the assessment structure information in the Unit Outline.

Changes to assessment structures for a unit after the commencement of a unit must not disadvantage any student.

The University determines:

  • Roles and accountabilities of academic staff in relation to setting and approving assessment structures
  • Processes to review assessment structures prior to approval (For example, review by a Unit Moderator, Unit of Study Panel or Unit Review Panel).

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Approval of Unit Outlines, including assessment structures

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above and accreditation requirements.
Determination of roles and accountabilities of academic staff regarding assessment

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Determination of processes to ensure academic standards and integrity of assessment

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Approval of changes made to assessment structures after commencement of a teaching period

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above and accreditation requirements.
Determination of Unit Outline template

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


3. Assessment items

An assessment item is a single component of the overall assessment structure for a unit of study.  Assessment items may also be referred to as assessment tasks or tools.  An assessment structure for a unit of study will contain one or more assessment items.

The University will provide students with details of each assessment item including the following:

  • Performance criteria and standards of knowledge, skills, competencies and/or capabilities
  • Due dates for completion
  • Demonstration of the alignment to the relevant learning outcomes
  • Details of how results and feedback will be provided

The University maintains a record of assessment structures, items and marking criteria for a period of 7 years.

The University determines:

  • Roles and accountabilities of academic staff in relation to setting and approving assessment items
  • Processes to ensure the validity and reliability of assessment items
  • Processes to ensure that assessment items are consistent with relevant academic standards, including the requirements of professional bodies.

When approving assessment items for units of study, the University should ensure:

  • Consistency with Swinburne's Assessment Principles
  • Alignment with the accredited unit learning outcomes
  • Equivalency of assessment in variations for alternative learning modes or locations
  • Clarity of the information provided to students regarding the assessment criteria, requirements and processes

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of roles, accountabilities and processes to ensure academic standards

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Approval of assessment items and maintenance of records of structures, items and marking criteria

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above, and in accordance with criteria and processes determined by the SDVC and Provost

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


4. Marking and results

The University determines:

  • Roles and accountabilities of academic staff in relation to marking and grading assessment items and tasks
  • Processes to ensure consistency and integrity of marking and grading practices as well as the review and approval of final results
  • Processes to ensure that marks and grades are consistent with relevant academic standards

The University and Academic Senate monitor the academic performance of students, the integrity of assessment practices and consistency with academic standards.

4.1. Marking and feedback

The grading schema used by the University is set out in Part 1 of the Schedule to the Academic Courses Regulations.

Assessment may be either graded or ungraded.  Higher Education units are usually graded.   When graded assessment is available in Vocational Education units, students must be assessed as competent in the unit to be eligible to receive a graded result.

Feedback to students should enable them to monitor their progress towards the unit and course learning outcomes, and to determine where improvements can be made to improve their learning. Students should be provided with feedback as soon as practicable.

Results of in-semester assessment will be made available to students in the form and manner determined by the University.

A student who has not submitted all hurdle assessment items or requirements in a unit of study, and who subsequently presents for an examination may not have the examination paper marked.

4.2. Extensions to due dates

Students who have had their preparation for an in-semester assessment item adversely affected by illness or other extraordinary cause, and wish to apply for an extension to a due date for an assessment item must apply in the form and manner specified by the University.  Academic penalties may apply for late submission and extensions (Academic Courses Regulation 47(2)).

When making a decision on a request for an extension to a due date for an assessment item, factors that the University should consider include:

  • The students performance in other assessment items in the unit
  • The nature of the circumstances and evidence provided by the student
  • The requirements and any constraints of the particular assessment item or task

4.3. Final results

When approving the final result for a unit, factors that the University should consider include:

  • The accredited assessment requirements of the unit
  • The moderation processes to ensure consistency across multiple markers or assessors
  • Equivalency and consistency of results across all modes and locations of learning

The final result for a unit will only be released to students in the form and manner determined by the University.  University staff are not permitted to provide final results to students in other ways.

Students who are dissatisfied with an aspect of the outcome of their assessed work should refer to the University’s complaints management guidelines

4.4. Conceded passes, deferred results and continuing results

The University may grant a Conceded Pass (CP) to undergraduate students enrolled in Higher Education award courses.  In accordance with Academic Courses Regulation 52,

  1. An undergraduate student enrolled in an award course may graduate with a maximum of one conceded pass in a course.
  2. A conceded pass cannot satisfy a pre-requisite requirement.
  3. A conceded pass is not available to a student enrolled in a single unit of study.

The University may defer a student's final result for a unit when special circumstances justify the granting of an extension of time for the completion of one or more assessment items or tasks beyond the end of the teaching period.

When making decisions on requests to defer a student’s final result, factors that the University should consider include:

  • The student's performance in other assessment items in the unit
  • The nature of the special circumstances
  • The requirements and any constraints of the particular assessment item or task

When a deferred result has been granted, the result must be finalised and resolved no later than twelve (12) weeks after the date of publication of the deferred result.  The University may approve an extension of the deferred result for an additional twelve-week period.

The University may grant a Continuing Result (CON) in units where enrolment extends for more than one teaching period, or the result is determined on submission of a report or thesis.

When a Continuing Result (CON) has been granted, the result must be finalised and resolved no later than the result publication date of the next standard semester.  The University may approve an extension of the Continuing Result (CON) for an additional standard semester period.

4.5. Last to complete

A student enrolled in a Higher Education course may apply for a Last to Complete (LTC) under the following circumstances as detailed in Academic Courses Regulation 48:

  • A student has obtained a pass result in all units of study for their award except one where a grade of 40% or more was obtained; and,
  • The unit was undertaken in the student’s final teaching period and is required to complete the course, or the unit was undertaken in the student’s penultimate teaching period, is required to complete the course and is not offered in the student’s final teaching period

Students must apply for a Last to Complete in the form and by the date specified by the University.
When making decisions on applications for Last to Complete, factors that the University should consider include:

  • A student may only be granted one Last to Complete assessment in respect of a course
  • The student has completed all hurdle assessment items required for a pass in the unit
  • A student will not be entitled to continue to the next component of a nested suite if he or she only satisfies the requirements for the previous component of that suite based on a Last to Complete assessment
  • Except in exceptional circumstances, a Last to Complete assessment should not be granted where failure in the unit was caused by student misconduct.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of roles, accountabilities and processes for marking, review and approval of results

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Extensions to due dates

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Final results, and amendment to final results

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above, and in accordance with criteria and processes determined by the SDVC and Provost
Deferral, Continuing results, Last to Complete and Conceded Passes

Registrars for SUT and SUTS

Must be consistent with the above, and in accordance with criteria determined by the SDVC and Provost
Monitoring of academic performance, assessment practices and academic standards

SDVC and Provost

A regular report must go to Academic Senate

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


5. Adjustments to assessment arrangements and Special Consideration

5.1. Adjustments to assessment arrangements

5.1.1 Equitable Assessment Arrangements

The University may make equitable adjustments to assessment arrangements for students with particular needs, for example relating to disability, health, language or culture.

In accordance with Academic Courses Regulation 41, a student with a disability, medical or other condition who wishes reasonable adjustments for assessment to be made must notify the University of their disability or condition in the manner required by the University within one week after the commencement of a unit of study to allow the University to make reasonable adjustments.

Students from a Non-English Speaking Background who are registered with an appropriate support service, and are actively seeking assistance on a regular basis to improve their language skills, Australian Indigenous students, or students with particular cultural needs may also notify the university in the manner required by the University within one week after the commencement of a unit of study to allow the University to make reasonable adjustments to assessment.

5.1.2 Alternative Assessment Arrangements

The University may make alternative arrangements for assessment if:

  1. a student is, or was, unable to attend an examination or undertake another form of assessment due to exceptional circumstances;
  2. an assessment item has been lost, stolen or damaged;
  3. national or specialist commitments affect a student’s ability to undertake or complete assessment in the circumstances.
    Examples of alternative assessment arrangements include extension to a due date, an alternative examination date, or permission to resubmit.

5.1.3 Decisions

When making decisions on applications for adjustments to assessment for students with particular needs, factors that the University should consider include:

  • The student’s academic performance in other units;
  • The nature of the student’s educational disadvantage or particular needs;
  • The requirements and any constraints of particular assessment items or tasks.

5.2. Special consideration

Special consideration is available for students who have had their studies adversely affected by acute illness or other extraordinary cause reasonably beyond their control.  In accordance with Academic Courses Regulation 44, a student may apply for special consideration if the student—

  1. has been hampered, to a significant degree, by illness or other extraordinary cause in studying for the unit;
  2. has been prevented by illness or other extraordinary cause from preparing or presenting for a component of assessment, or part of a component of assessment; or,
  3. has been, to a significant degree, adversely affected by illness or other extraordinary cause, during the performance of a component of assessment.

A student whose medical condition is not such as to prevent him or her from attending or sitting an examination or test:

  1. must attend and sit the examination or test; and
  2. may, if he or she considers that he or she has grounds under the Regulation, apply for special consideration.

Students must submit an application for special consideration in the form, manner and within the time required by the University.  Applications that do not meet the documentation requirements as stipulated by the University may be deemed ineligible.

When making decisions on applications for special consideration, factors that the University should consider include:

  • The student's performance in other assessment items in the unit
  • The nature of the special circumstances
  • The relevance, nature and authenticity of the evidence provided by the student
  • The requirements and any constraints of the particular assessment item or task
  • Whether the student has met all other mandatory requirements for successful completion of the unit.

On application the University may:

  1. defer assessment;
  2. grant an extended period for assessment;
  3. approve special arrangements for assessment;
  4. allow the student to re-do one or more assessment tasks.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of the process and requirements for applications for equitable or alternative assessment arrangements and applications for special consideration Registrars for SUT and SUTS Must be consistent with the above, and after consultation with the Student Equity Unit
Applications for equitable or alternative assessment arrangements Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost
Must be consistent with the above, and after consultation with the Student Equity Unit
Determination of a schedule of special consideration assessment decisions SDVC and Provost Must be consistent with the above
Applications for special consideration Registrars for SUT and SUTS Must be consistent with the schedule of assessment decisions set by the SDVC & Provost
Applications for special consideration not covered in the schedule of special consideration assessment decisions Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost
Must be consistent with the above

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


6. Assessment integrity

The University provides information to students regarding expectations concerning the integrity of assessment.  Breaches of integrity rules, including any irregularities suspected in an assessment task or item will be subject to investigation and action in accordance with the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations.

The University provides information to students regarding the organisation and conduct of examinations in accordance with the Student Administration Regulations.  Breaches of the examination rules will be reported to the Chief Examiner, and will be managed in accordance with the Student Administration Policyand the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations.

The University determines processes to ensure the academic integrity of attainment of learning.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Determination of roles, accountabilities and processes to ensure integrity of assessment

SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Chief Examiner

Head of Academic Unit

 
Organisation and conduct of examinations

Registrars for SUT and SUTS

Must be consistent with requirements in the Student Administration Regulations.

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


7. Document management and ownership

All examination scripts, tests and comments, marks or documents relating to examination scripts, tests and any calculation of assessment marks are the property of the University. In-semester assessment tasks (for example, assignments) are normally the property of the student and are returned to them on completion of the assessment process.

Students may apply to the University within 30 days of the publication of the final result for a unit of study to view examination scripts, comments or documents relating to such examination scripts.

The University will store and dispose of any final examination scripts and other assessed material that is not normally returned to students in accordance with the Public Record Office Victoria standards.

The University's complaints management guidelines set a time limit within which an application for a reconsideration of assessment can be made.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Applications for viewing examination scripts

Registrars for SUT and SUTS

Must be consistent with the above and relevant legislation.
Storage and disposal of assessment items other than final examination scripts

Head of Academic Unit
Academic positions specified by the Head of the Academic Unit and approved by SDVC and Provost

Must be consistent with the above
Storage and disposal of examination scripts

Registrars for SUT and SUTS

Must be consistent with the Public Record Office Victoria standards

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


8. Complaints, reviews and appeals

Where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision relating to assessment, the student may lodge a complaint subject to the requirements of the complaints, reviews and appeals provisions of thePeople, Culture and Integrity Policy and the Review and Appeals Regulations 2012.


9. Transition provision

This Policy and the other Policies commencing 1 January 2014 promulgated by the University under the University-wide “Policy Review Project” replace all University policies in existence before 1 January 2014.

Before 1 January 2014 policies were coupled with procedures and many policies included procedural aspects.

Transitional arrangements will apply from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 under which:

  • Procedures coupled with policies and procedural components within policies that were in effect as at 31 December 2013 will continue to apply to provide direction as to procedure until 31 December 2014 unless replaced by new procedures or guidelines or otherwise repealed
  • Such procedures and procedural components are subordinate to and must be read in conjunction with new Policies
  • New Policies prevail to the extent of any inconsistency.

Higher Education students who have been identified prior to 31 December 2013 as having unsatisfactory progress and are required to show-cause before a deadline in January 2014 will be managed under the previous academic progress provisions in the Assessment - Higher Education 2013 policy.

Delegations

This policy includes, where indicated in the tables of roles and responsibilities, delegation of power by the Vice-Chancellor under section 26(7) of the Swinburne University of Technology Act 2010.

Approvals

VersionDateApproverContact
V 1.4 17 Dec 2013 Academic Senate Chair of Academic Senate