Moderation and validation of assessment – courses delivered at off-shore campuses instruction

Instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction aims to ensure that:

  • There are robust and consistent moderation processes in place for RMIT higher education programs and courses delivered at off-shore campuses
  • The processes promote fairness, consistency and reliability of assessment within courses and across campuses
  • Students can receive their results in a timeframe that enables them to make informed decisions about their ongoing enrolment.

Scope

All RMIT courses delivered at off-shore campuses.

This instruction relates to the coordination of the setting and moderation of final assessments - including examinations - between RMIT Melbourne and its offshore campuses, the marking of final exams and final assessment items, and finalisation of results. These instructions should be read in conjunction with the Assessment: moderation and validation of assessment procedure.

Note: For the purposes of this instruction, all position titles that are formally approved by RMIT Melbourne campus are capitalised. Titles that are not capitalised refer to responsibilities rather than specific titles. This reflects the fact that titles of positions may vary across different campuses. The term ‘campus course coordinator’ refers to the course coordinator/leader based at the off-shore campus.

Instruction steps/actions

Process step/action

Responsibility

Time-frame

1. Assessment instruments

1.1.Overall responsibility for an RMIT course delivered at an off-shore campus rests with the Course Coordinator, who will work collaboratively with the campus course coordinator(s) on tasks relating to the setting and moderation of assessment instruments and marking.

1.2. All courses offered at an off-shore campus remain subject to the formal academic governance of the school which owns the course. Assessment related information about the course will be reported to the relevant course assessment committee.


Course Coordinator and campus course coordinator(s)


Prior to the start of each respective teaching at the off-shore campus

1.3. Assessment tasks, other than the end of teaching period task/exam, may be prepared by the campus course coordinator(s) and are subject to final approval by the Course Coordinator.

1.4. All assessment tasks (including those described in section 1.3 above) will conform to the assessment schedule published in Part B of the Course Guide.

Course Coordinator and campus course coordinator(s)

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

1.5. Where a final assessment task is other than an exam, the task and a marking scheme are prepared by the Course Coordinator who may seek input from the campus course coordinator(s). It will conform to the assessment schedule contained in Part B of the Course.

Course Coordinator

Prior to the start of each respective teaching period at the offshore campus

2. Preparing final exams

The process for preparing final exams described below will apply only to those courses offered at an off-shore campus which have a final ‘end of teaching period’ examination. Detailed guidelines on the preparation of final exams are provided in the Instructions for preparing final exams for courses delivered at off-shore campuses.

Setting Exams

2.1 Each teaching period, a designated professional staff member at the off-shore campus will advise relevant Colleges in Melbourne of courses being offered in the forthcoming academic year/teaching periods, the corresponding exam timetable and the dates for moderation.

Designated professional staff member at the off-shore campus

By the due date set in the Academic Calendar (or as determined by the Deputy Head, Learning and Teaching of the college, where no dates have been published)

Exam coordination

2.2 The Melbourne campus exam coordinator will:

  • email the exam timetable to the Academic Registrars Group’s Examinations, Awards and Graduations unit so the data can be entered into the Online Header Sheet and Cover Sheet Generator
  • email the exam timetable to schools and advise them of exam papers required and the timelines as per the respective Academic Calendar
  • establish a secure file transfer system for transferring exam drafts between course coordinators at each campus in each College/School (as determined locally)

Melbourne campus exam coordinator (College or School office)

3. Internal moderation of courses delivered at off-shore campuses

3.1 The Course Coordinator will normally undertake internal moderation of how courses delivered at off-shore campuses have been marked. This task can also be delegated to a campus course coordinator.

Moderation includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Comparison with samples from RMIT Melbourne and off-shore locations (to be provided by the relevant School on an annual basis).
  • 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.
  • Periodic reviews of marked assessment items to maintain consistency.
  • Where there is only one marker, appropriate peer input.
  • 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.

3.2 A course moderation summary report is prepared for the course assessment committee, detailing the internal moderation process used and identifying any relevant issues. The report comments on issues of consistency, interpretation and application of marking criteria, justifies any decision to make adjustments to final marks, and highlights any other matter relevant to the course assessment committee’s finalisation of results.


Course Coordinator or campus course coordinator.


As part of the preparation for, and marking process

4. Melbourne moderation and approval of results

The course assessment committee will comprise representatives from the off-shore campus and the Melbourne School with overall accountability for the results of a particular course or a set of courses within the same discipline. The course assessment committee is responsible for moderating and finalising results in a course(s).

Course assessment committee meeting

4.1 A designated professional staff member at the off-shore campus collects the following items for moderation:

  • Spreadsheets for each course delivered in the teaching period, containing all marks for all assessment tasks undertaken by students enrolled in the course;
  • The marking guide and/or assessment criteria checklist used; and
  • From each course, samples of marked examinations and/or any final projects or major assessment items from each relevant band of results in a course, being:
    • High Distinction
    • Distinction
    • Credit
    • Pass
    • Fail

Designated professional staff member at offshore campus

Course Coordinator, campus course coordinator(s)

Prior to the scheduled course assessment committee meeting

4.2 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. The Course Coordinator, in consultation with the campus course coordinator may decide to increase the sample size and/or apply additional sampling criteria.

4.3 Items for moderation for each course are loaded on to a secure server maintained for the purpose of exchanging moderation materials. The folder structure of this secure server reflects the College/School/Course names.

Course Coordinator

Prior to the scheduled course assessment committee meeting

4.4 The Course Coordinator provides the course assessment committee with details of how any problems or inconsistencies are being managed. On being satisfied that internal moderation procedures have been thorough, and any issues addressed, the course assessment committee approves the results and notifies the Academic Registrar/responsible officer at the off-shore campus.

Course assessment committee (may be held via audio/video conferencing)

During the period scheduled for the course assessment committee meeting

5. Release and reporting of results

Program assessment board (PAB): is a program-level board convened by the Deputy Head L&T of the school in Melbourne which owns the program; its composition is established as per relevant section of the Assessment policy. It considers issues relating to individual student academic progress, including determining students at risk and making recommendations for exclusion.

5.1 The PAB for each program is convened by the Deputy Head Learning and Teaching of the discipline area in Melbourne to consider issues relating to students’ academic progress.

Program assessment board (may be held via audio/video conferencing)

After the course assessment committee meetings

5.2 Results are released to students in the manner approved by the Academic Board following completion of internal moderation procedures and approval of results by the program assessment board.

Professional staff member in School which owns the program

5.3 Where the Academic Board has approved that results will also be released directly to students by the off-shore campus, by no later than the week following release of results to students, results for all courses are communicated to the Academic Registrar’s Group in Melbourne for entry into the official student database.

Academic Registrar/responsible officer at the offshore campus/ ARG Enrolments and Records

Within one week of the release of results to students

5.4 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 RMIT Melbourne and at least one other off-shore location (where relevant) to be sent to the staff responsible for program management and offering coordinators based at the off-shore campus.

Schools

Once per year per course

5.5 Program Managers will include an overview analysis of moderation outcomes in the Program Annual Reviews.

Program Managers

Once per year per program

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