Moderation of assessment – higher education and vocational education and training instruction


Instruction statement

To ensure that a valid, consistent and documented approach to moderation of assessment is implemented for all courses delivered with RMIT programs that will ensure quality assessment and drive continuous improvement in education, training delivery and assessment.


Theses and research components of higher degree by research programs

Minimum resources required for efficient conduct of moderation

a) Assessment: management of results procedure and instructions

b) Results for the course/s

c) Distribution of results for course/s, showing the percentage of classifications




1 Steps

The Dean/Head of School is responsible for ensuring that:

a) moderation of results occurs for all courses managed by the school

b) moderation practices are consistent with this procedure and promote fairness, consistency and reliability of assessment grading, and comparability of assessment within courses across multiple markers, campuses and sites, and student cohorts (offshore, onshore, online, etc.)

c) all staff responsible for marking assessment, including those in partner institutions, are aware of the processes adopted to ensure consistent standards of assessment

d) any moderation of assessment that results in the adjustment of student results is endorsed by the course assessment committee.

Dean/Head of School

The moderation strategy implemented by the school must:

a) achieve each of the objectives of these instructions,

b) comply with any specific external requirements relating to moderation including the national training framework, licensing and industry registration standards,

c) ensure that consultation around assessment occurs with program managers of all programs in which the course is prescribed, where practicable, and

d) ensure that, for every assessment task that contributes to the final grade, there are agreed judgements interpreting evidence of capability or marking criteria in order to maximize consistency, fairness and reliability.

Program Managers/Course Coordinators or equivalent

2 Assessment instruments

2.1 The Dean/Head of School will identify staff responsible for the setting and moderation of assessment instruments and marking.

Assessment-related information about the course will be reported to the relevant course assessment committee.

Staff nominated by the Dean/Head of School

Before the start of each semester

2.2 Assessment tasks will conform to the assessment schedule published in Part B of the Course Guide, or VET nationally recognised qualification equivalent, as appropriate.

Staff nominated by the Dean/Head of School

At least 4 weeks before the scheduled date of test / distribution of assessment task

2.3 The Deputy Head Learning and Teaching or the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee for the school to which a course belongs is responsible for deciding who will moderate each exam paper and marking scheme. Wherever possible, these staff should not have been involved in the preparation of the exam paper.

2.3.1 When staff undertake coursework study (eg, a graduate diploma or masters by coursework) in their own discipline and within their own school, and are assessed by their own colleagues, the school should form a reciprocal relationship with an equivalent discipline at another institution, for moderation of the assessment. This step will mitigate any risk of potential conflict of interest in the marking process.

2.3.2 This stage of moderation involves checking the content coverage, technical accuracy and academic validity of the exam questions and the marking scheme.

2.3.3 Any proposed amendments to the exam paper identified through this process will be reported to the staff identified under section 2.1 above. Any unresolved issues must be referred to the Deputy Head Learning and Teaching or the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee in the relevant school.

Staff nominated by the Dean/Head of School

By the due date set in the Academic Calendar

3 Internal moderation

Internal moderation will include:

a) Initial review and discussion of the relevant marking scheme with all markers. This should be considered in the context of the learning outcomes published in the Course Guide. Two of the reviewing staff members are to record their names on the agreed assessment marking scheme.

b) Ensuring that timely marking has occurred for all students and that there are no missing results. (Under no circumstances should there be blank results by the time of the program assessment board meeting. There is an appropriate interim result for all legitimate delay scenarios.)

c) Marking of samples, to review the application of the marking criteria, develop an understanding of expected standards, differentiate levels of performance, and promote consistency and fairness in marking.

d) Where there is more than one marker, conduct a comparison of a sample of assessment grades to ensure consistent interpretation of the competency or learning outcome. While the moderation sample size will not be less than two samples (if available) from each band of results in a course, the sample size may exceed this minimum.

e) Comparison with samples from other offerings and locations (to be provided by the relevant School on an annual basis).

f) Agreement on a suitable marking process that promotes consistency (e.g., using one marker for a question or series of questions across all groups in a course; double-marking where a marker is new to a course. Regular dialogue between markers throughout the marking process.

g) Periodic reviews of marked assessment items to maintain consistency.

h) Where there is only one marker, appropriate peer input.

i) A post-marking review to finalise application of the marking criteria, exchange samples, evaluate distribution of marks across groups, and make any adjustments to marks. The post-marking review should also seek to identify where improvements can be made for future assessments and marking practices.

j) Where there are variations or anomalies across different markers, implement an appropriate strategy to increase consistency and reliability in outcomes (e.g., act to improve the clarity and objectivity of the marking scheme, cross marking, consensus techniques or third party reports. Small differences can be averaged or scaled; however, the course coordinator should be consulted where large differences are identified).

Staff nominated by the Dean/Head of School

All teachers involved in assessment of the course

Before marking.

After initial marking and before finalising results.

4 Documenting and reporting the moderation process

The Principal Course Coordinator prepares a summary report for the course assessment committee, detailing:

a) the internal moderation process used and identifying any relevant issues.

b) issues of consistency, interpretation and application of marking criteria, justifications for any decisions to make adjustments to final marks, and highlighting any other matter relevant to the course assessment committee finalisation of results.

5 Implementing improvements via moderation

a) At least once per year per course, each school will arrange for the collection of samples of marked examinations and final assessment items from each band of results from students at each campus of the offering for evaluation by staff responsible for course and assessment design within the school.

b) Program/course reviews of the appropriateness of the assessment strategy, and the documentation of any resulting modifications in the program / course log and program/course guides. For programs this activity may be incorporated into the program annual review and documented in the program annual report.

c) External input to and scrutiny of the assessment moderation strategy may also be achieved through the submission of the program annual reports to program review committees.

d) Undertake a review of the frequency, style, weighting and relative success rate of students, including not just pass / fail rate, but also the spread of passing grades. Consideration should be given to how the assessments can be varied over time both to maintain currency and reduce the potential for plagiarism.


Once per year per course

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