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Assessment and Feedback Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) Assessment is an integral part of student learning at QUT. This Policy sets out the framework for assessment and feedback at QUT to align with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.

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Section 2 - Application

(2) This Policy applies to all courses involving coursework units (including as part of a postgraduate research program) offered by QUT, and to all staff and students involved with assessment and feedback processes.

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Section 3 - Roles and Responsibilities

Position Responsibility
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)
Ensures provision of professional development and curriculum support for academic staff who design and implement assessment and feedback.
Approves protocols on assessment and feedback made under this Policy.
Provides training, learning design support and technology-enabled systems for academic staff to design and implement technology-enabled assessment practices.
Vice-President (Digital) and Chief Digital Officer Ensures provision of virtual assessment environments and other information technology resources required by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) to support integrated assessment options.
Director, Curriculum Quality and Academic Integrity
Oversees the integration of assessment and feedback practices across the university as part of accreditation and reaccreditation.
Monitors the university-wide effectiveness of assessment and feedback practices and supporting resources and recommends changes to protocols, guidelines and practices.
Executive Dean and Executive Director, QUT College
Oversees and assures assessment practices and capability.
Promotes assessment principles and ensures allocation of resources to support effective assessment practices.
Approves final grades for publication to students (Grading Scales and Awards Policy).
Course Coordinator (or equivalent)
Assures assessment design and practices are consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course.
Coordinates course level assurance of achievement standards including moderation practices, and conducts external referencing o.f standards at least once per accreditation period.
Study Area Coordinator (or equivalent) Implements and assures subject area level assessment and feedback practices consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course (Academic Leadership Roles in Teaching and Learning Policy).
Unit Coordinator (or equivalent)
Designs, implements and communicates unit-level assessment and feedback practices, consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course.
Conducts unit level assurance of achievement standards including review and moderation between tutorial groups and by different teaching staff and different modes of offering.
Recommends final grades for students (Grading Scales and Awards Policy).
Unit staff (teaching and marking) Implements unit-level assessment and feedback practices consistent with the accredited assessment approach for the course.
Head of School (or equivalent)
Oversees and assures assessment practices and capability within a school.
Promotes assessment principles and values and ensures allocation of resources to support effective assessment within a school.
Authorises results submitted to the assessment management system.
Recommends approval of all changes to assessment arrangements once semester has commenced.
Curriculum Standards Committee Approves exceptions to policy with respect to course and assessment design (Curriculum Design, Approval and Accreditation Policy).
Faculty Academic Boards and other entities delegated by University Academic Board Endorse variation to assessment patterns consistent with delegations and accredited assessment design for the course.
Faculty Academic Boards and other entities that receive delegated authority to approve new or revised units and unit outlines (Curriculum Design, Approval and Accreditation Policy) Ensure that new or revised units and unit outlines comply with the Assessment and feedback policy.
Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching) (or equivalent) Monitors the effectiveness of faculty assessment practices, capability needs and resources to support and assure assessment implementation.
Work to the best of their abilities and make genuine attempts to progress successfully by:
  1. engaging with feedback processes and other formative assessment activities to support future learning;
  2. meeting deadlines for assessment (Code of Conduct - Student).
Undertake academic work in a manner consistent with the principles of academic integrity (Code of Conduct - Student).
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Section 4 - Assessment and Feedback Framework

(3) Assessment is an integral part of student learning at QUT. Assessment and feedback are purposefully designed to be challenging, authentic and meaningful, to promote student learning, achievement of course learning outcomes and employability.

(4) The principles of the framework are:

  1. adoption of an authentic, whole-of-course approach to assessment. All assessment is linked to the course and unit learning outcomes, unit content and experiences and evidences professional and disciplinary standards.
  2. provision of timely and constructive feedback to build leaner capabilities and guide improvement within units and across a course. Effective feedback (via formative tasks and summative assessment items) supports learners with meeting specified learning outcomes and enables their transformation from dependent to independent learners, confident in self-evaluation.

(5) Recognising that assessment and feedback are integral parts of student learning, QUT is committed to providing authentic and meaningful assessment practices based upon the following values:

  1. Authenticity
    1. Authentic feedback and assessment engage learners with developing skills and capabilities relevant to the contexts of work and employment. Authentic assessment is relatable to the real world context and replicates or simulates as closely as is practicable what will be done by or asked of graduates.
  2. Manageability
    1. A whole-of-course assessment design carefully balances student and staff workload within and across teaching periods. The quantity of assessed work per unit of credit point is consistent within and across courses. Assessment is manageable for students to complete and for staff to assess within the timeframe of the relevant teaching period and is timed to maximise opportunities for developmental feedback.
  3. Integrity
    1. Assessment and feedback promote academic and professional integrity and develop students’ capability in ethical practices (professional, research and communication). Assessment is designed and conducted in such a way as to assure and sustain the integrity of the assessment process, including, as far as is possible, not setting the same assessment for subsequent offerings of the unit.
  4. Connectedness
    1. Assessments within units have meaningful relationships to each other, and to assessment in related units, and directly map to course learning outcomes.
  5. Purposeful
    1. Assessment and feedback promote deep learning, building learners’ capability for self-evaluation and independent and lifelong learning.
  6. Fairness
    1. Assessment and feedback are equitable and inclusive of all intended participants, enabling all learners to demonstrate, to the best of their ability, their achievement of learning outcomes, and take account of reasonable adjustments for individual students as required. Information about assessment processes (such as moderation and grading) is transparent and plainly communicated to students.
  7. Validity
    1. Assessment and feedback are valid, aligned to learning outcomes and reliable in enabling and confirming the achievement of standards and stated learning outcomes by learners.
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Section 5 - Typical Unit-Based Assessment Pattern

(6) Assessment must be designed in a way that ensures assessment in individual units complies with a typical unit assessment pattern.

(7) For a 12 credit point unit:

  1. two or three summative assessment items;
  2. the maximum weighting of an assessment item is 60% of the total summative assessment for the unit;
  3. the minimum weighting of an assessment item is 10% of the total summative assessment for the unit;
  4. the maximum weighting for invigilated examinations is 60% of the total summative assessment for the unit;
  5. the maximum weight for non-invigilated quizzes or tests is 20% of the total summative assessment for the unit;
  6. the maximum weighting for the collective component of group work is 50% of the total summative assessment for the unit.

(8) For a 6 credit point unit:

  1. one or two summative assessment items;
  2. the minimum weighting of an assessment item is 20%.

(9) Further guidance on assessment patterns, including exceptions, is provided in Assessment and feedback protocol (QUT staff access only).

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Section 6 - Special Conditions of Assessment

(10) Accredited course design may include units with specified threshold assessment conditions that a student must meet to receive a passing grade in a unit.

(11) Any special conditions of assessment must be included in the unit outline (Unit and Module Information Policy), including the requirements and consequences of failing to meet the threshold conditions.

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Section 7 - Standards-Based Approach to Assessment

(12) Assessment at QUT is conducted with reference to learning outcomes and clearly defined standards of performance.

(13) A standards-based approach to assessment requires:

  1. assessment criteria for individual assessment items which reflects what students are expected to learn through those assessment items;
  2. performance descriptors which reflect the expected standards of performance for the assessment criteria relative to the level of assessment (i.e. introductory, developing, mastery, capstone);
  3. standards are differentiated against each assessment criterion to support students in understanding what is required and self-assessment of their own work;
  4. standards transparently and consistently calibrate to the achievement descriptors of QUT grading (Grading Scales and Awards Policy); and
  5. the quality of students’ work judged by reference to criteria and standards, not be reference to other students’ work.

(14) Results of assessment items in a unit are combined transparently to determine the final grade of the unit.

(15) Further guidance on standards-based assessment is provided in Assessment and feedback protocol (QUT staff access only).

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Section 8 - Assurance of Achievement Standards in Assessment

(16) Achievement standards refer to the quality of learning demonstrated by a student, with respect to knowledge, skills and abilities, through the summative assessment they complete in units and courses. QUT monitors the quality of student learning in units and courses by assuring achievement standards through a scheduled cyclical practice, internally and externally.

(17) Internally, it involves course teams interacting and collaborating to:

  1. validate the design of assessment tasks and the standards and criteria by which they will be assessed; and
  2. calibrate and moderate results, in the process of marking and grading, including ensuring the comparability of the application of standards across multiple markers.

(18) Externally, it involves independent and knowledgeable peers or recognised authoritative groups (such as professional and industry bodies) in the review and calibration of QUT’s standards in comparison to other institutional settings and professional contexts.

(19) Further guidance on assuring achievement standards is provided in Assuring achievement standards – guidelines (QUT staff access only) and External referencing practices (QUT staff access only).

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Section 9 - Communication to Students about Assessment and Feedback

(20) Students are entitled to:

  1. timely, complete and accessible information about assessment, including examinations, through publication of unit outlines (Unit and Module Information Policy) and additional unit information; and
  2. information of the method by which the final grade is determined.
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Section 10 - Student Submission of Assessment Items

(21) QUT requires students to submit assessment work via the specified means by the due date and time set for submission so that it may be marked against assessment criteria, with feedback returned in a timely manner to support future learning. Students must meet assessment timeframes unless special circumstances prevent this occurring, and an academic concession is granted (Student Academic Concessions Policy).

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Section 11 - Access to Assessment Results

(22) The release of assessment results supports the objective of providing timely feedback as a support to future learning and also promotes administrative release of information under right to information and privacy legislation.

(23) Assessment is generally returned or released to students following completion of marking and moderation, with appropriate general and specific feedback. This is done in a manner which does not breach other students’ privacy, protects their work from tampering or unauthorised access and maintains the values of fairness and academic integrity.

(24) Students are entitled to timely access to the results and feedback of their own assessment items. During a teaching period, students should discuss their progress in all assessment tasks, normally with relevant teaching staff, and can expect to be provided with a clear indication of the extent to which they have or have not achieved the criteria and standards set for each assessment item. Since this step may constitute a significant component of the learning outcomes for the unit, this should be undertaken as soon as possible (normally within five working days) after the release of the grades and/or return of the assessment item.

Access to Examination Scripts

(25) A student may request access to their own examination scripts. The request must be made within three months of the release of final grades in the unit, as this is the minimum period for which examination scripts must be retained.

(26) Unit Coordinators must make appropriate arrangements for students to obtain access to these materials. If providing access may infringe the assessment and feedback values in this Policy, Unit Coordinators must arrange for students to receive feedback on their performance with reference to their own examination script in a way that does not infringe the values.

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Section 12 - Definitions

Term Definition
Accredited Assessment Design Is the outline of how summative and formative assessments promote progressive achievement of course learning outcomes with reference to assessment types, sequencing, quantum, timing and connection, approved in accordance with the Curriculum Design, Approval and Accreditation Policy, at the time of course accreditation or reaccreditation.
Assessment Means work (for example, an examination, written task, project, practical, performance) which a student is required to complete for educational purposes, including to permit grading. The Assessment and feedback protocol (QUT staff access only) provides guidance on summative assessment tasks recognised at QUT.
Examination Script  Means written answers to examination questions.
Feedback  Means information provided to students on the standard of their work with a view to improve it. Feedback may be directed to an individual student or to a cohort.
Formative Assessment (or Assessment for Learning) Is used to monitor student learning and provides feedback to students to assist them in improving their learning outcomes.
Summative Assessment (or Assessment of Learning) Evaluates student learning outcomes against specified standards or criteria, providing the basis for grading and reporting student achievement.
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Section 13 - Delegations

(27) Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (C098, C121, C159) (QUT staff access only).