Course assessment committee instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction establishes minimum operational requirements for the course assessment committee (herein referred to as ‘the committee’) in applying the Assessment: course assessment committees and program assessment boards procedure. This instruction should be read in conjunction with that procedure.

The importance of the course assessment committee

The committee plays a critical role in the management of assessment, moderation and the approval of student grades. It is an investigative and decision-making body. The membership and terms of reference of the committee are set out in the Assessment: Course Assessment Committees and Program Assessment Boards Procedure. It is essential that the committee is properly constituted and that its members have a good knowledge of the procedure.

Exclusions

  • VCE and VCAL courses
  • The research component of higher degree by research programs

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

1. Overview of the main activities of the course assessment committee

1.1 Finalisation of missing results

The committee relies on all results being entered by the time of its meeting. It is the responsibility of course coordinators / program managers to ensure that results are entered in a timely manner.

Where for a legitimate reason it is not possible for a final result to be identified the appropriate interim result should be entered and the reason for the delay recorded.

Under no circumstances should there be missing (blank) results when the program assessment board meets. There is an appropriate interim result for all legitimate scenarios (refer to the Results grade tables).

The Results Processing Online (RPO) interface should be used for result entry.

Results Processing Online grading guidelines provide clear rules for the use of all valid grades for both Higher Education and Vocational Education and are available on the web. Where results are not available the committee should report the matter to the Dean/Head of School.

In accordance with the academic progress and RPO calendars published by the ARG

1.2 Review of marks and grade distribution at the course level

RMIT uses criterion-referenced assessment, not norm-referenced assessment. The committee should review the marks and grade distribution in relation to the approved criteria.

For transparency and audit purposes, any adjustment to final grades in the course requires a justification recorded in writing and included in the committee’s report to the program assessment board.

In accordance with the academic progress and RPO calendars published by ARG

1.3 Ensure that an auditable quality process has been actioned for all narrowly failed final grades (as defined in the Assessment policy)

This should already have been arranged by the staff responsible for marking and course management.

Strategies may include the appointment of a second examiner to re-mark/review major assessments or examination papers for narrowly failed final grades. The committee may appoint the second examiner where this process has not been carried out before the meeting.

1.4 Award of supplementary assessment

The rules governing the award of supplementary assessment are set out in sections 1 and 6 of the Assessment: Adjustments to Assessment Procedure.

Supplementary assessments should only be granted in extremely limited situations where a student has participated fully in the course and in all assessments but there is inadequate evidence to determine whether the student has achieved a pass.

The grounds upon which a supplementary assessment has been granted should be documented by the committee and retained for audit purposes, and as evidence in case of any appeal against results.

The interim grade SUP must be entered by the school for any students granted supplementary assessments by the committee.

The only grade available for students who sit and pass a Supplementary Assessment is SP.

1.5 Approve final results awarded for courses

The committee is responsible for approving the final results recorded for each student, although the program assessment board may adjust grades for individual students in some circumstances.

1.6 Approve changes to interim and final results and the entry of final results after the official date of publication of results

After sighting, recording and retaining the required evidence, the committee is responsible for approving changes to interim and final results (including where the original result was left blank) after the official date for publication of results for the course. Where the committee is not in session when a change or entry of a final result is required after the official date of publication or results, approval for the change may be granted by:

  • the Chair of the committee; or
  • the Deputy Dean/Head (Learning and Teaching) of the School that manages the course; or
  • the Dean/Head of School that manages the course

in accordance with section 4.3 of the Assessment: management of results procedure.

1.7 Determine allocation of course-level prizes and awards

This can only be done where all final grades have been recorded and approved for the course. High-achieving students should be evaluated for suitability for any course-level prizes and awards, where these exist. Their names should be added to a list of potential candidates and contact made to obtain any required documentation such as a CV and/or a statement of support for the nomination.

1.8 Compiling course outcome statistics

Review course outcome statistics and make recommendations or identify action items, including recording the reasons for missing/late results entry

1.9 Provide summary data of changes to, and late entry of grades

Provide a summary of data on all post-publication date changes to, and entry of results to the Dean/Head of School and Deputy PVC L & T of the College each teaching period.

1.10 Record the relevant details of the meeting in an unambiguous and permanent manner

The committee must create a permanent, unambiguous and auditable record of its decisions. This record can be called upon as evidence in response to student appeals – both internal and external (such as to the Victorian Ombudsman or Department of Education).

At the meeting

Attachment 1 provides a detailed listing of the minimum requirements for recording a course assessment committee.

Attachment 2 provides a suggested good practice example of a minutes template developed. Staff are free to develop their own templates based on the minimum requirements set out in attachment 1, or to use/modify the exemplar provided in attachment 2.

Further assistance

Minute-taking courses are available for University staff. Contact Human Resources for further information.

2 Conduct of a course assessment committee

2.1 Frequency and timing of meetings

The course assessment committee must meet at the end of each teaching period, as course results become available, and prior to the program assessment board meeting The Academic progress timelines published on the supporting documents and information tab of the Assessment: Academic Progress (Coursework Programs) Procedure provide suggested timelines for course assessment committee meetings for both Higher Education and Vocational Education.

The committee may also need to meet subsequent to the above on an ad hoc basis to record and approve changes to results after the official date of publication of results.

Where a course assessment committee fails to meet as required, or is deemed inquorate or fails to decide on all matters under its jurisdiction, the Dean/Head of School will ensure the responsibilities identified under the terms of reference of the committee are achieved and will assume responsibility for the decisions made. Such executive action will be formally minuted in an auditable manner to the same level of detail as required by the committee

In accordance with the academic progress and RPO calendars published by the ARG

2.2 Scheduling meetings

The secretary of the course assessment committee should prepare a schedule of meetings including dates, times, venues and participants in accordance with the following scheduling principles:

a) Ensure meetings are planned in advance and scheduled to coincide with the critical timelines (see above).

b) Consideration may need to be given to scheduling meetings by class and/or location, where a course is delivered simultaneously across a number of campuses.

c) In the case of service taught courses, the school may wish to consider inviting representatives from the schools/programs for which the course is delivered or provide a summary response to the program assessment board regarding student or program cohort outcomes.

d) At the end of the year, meetings considering final stage courses could be scheduled first to allow time for graduation processing. This responsibility can be delegated to the chair between meetings for monthly or urgent conferrals.

e) Meetings considering very large first year classes should be scheduled last to allow the maximum time for finalisation of marking and results entry prior to the meeting.

f) Action any committee generated result amendments at the meeting (where access to RPO is available) or as soon as possible after the meeting to avoid the need for amendment to results after the advertised date for official publication of results or the close of RPO. This also ensures that program assessment boards have access to up-to-date student results.

g) Consideration may be given to inviting a program manager where the course is a keystone course within a program, although this is not mandatory.

Secretary of course assessment committee

In accordance with the academic progress and RPO calendars published by the ARG

2.3 Minimum resources required for efficient conduct of committee meetings

a) data on student results. Reports on student results at an individual class level is available in RPO. A report is available in SAMS providing class result data on a school level.

b) criteria for any course-level awards/prizes

c) grading references and rules, including:

d) computer and data projector equipment to enable access to IExplore, RPO and SAMS to facilitate efficient recording of decisions.

2.4 Actioning committee outcomes and result amendments

Result amendments arising from the committee should be actioned immediately via RPO, along with any recommendations to the program assessment board (i.e. before the meeting of the program assessment boards). Failure to achieve this will impact the ability of the program assessment boards to effectively monitor student academic progress at the program level.

Before the meeting of the program assessment board/s

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