Assessment: course assessment committees and program assessment boards procedure

Intent

Assessment and the monitoring of student progression and results play a critical role in safeguarding academic standards and ensuring comparable academic outcomes. This is particularly important when similar programs and courses are offered at different locations or modes of delivery (for example, onshore, offshore and through Open Universities Australia).

Critical tasks must be carried out at both the course and program level when managing and finalising assessment and in ensuring the quality of the assessment process and outcomes.

This procedure identifies the requirement for schools to establish course assessment committees to undertake the key tasks at the course level, and program assessment boards which are responsible for monitoring and managing student progression issues at the program level.

Scope

Vocational Education, foundation studies, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses and programs; and the coursework component of higher degree by research programs

Exclusions

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

Procedure steps and actions

1. Course assessment committees

The Dean/Head of School is responsible for ensuring that course assessment committees are established to monitor, manage and approve the assessment and student outcomes in individual courses managed by the school.

This section sets out the membership and terms of reference for course assessment committees.

The course assessment committee is a decision-making body.

The findings and recommendations of the course assessment committee should be available to inform course and program quality review processes, and assist program assessment boards to monitor student progress through their program. In the case of courses which are part of an HDR program the course assessment committee outcomes will be made available to the HDR Coordinator of the school, for use in monitoring of student progress in those programs.

Where a course assessment committee fails to meet as required or is deemed inquorate 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.

Who is involved in this process?

  • Deputy Dean/Head of School
  • Deputy Dean/Head (discipline)
  • Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching)
  • School Higher Degree by Research Coordinators (or equivalent)
  • Program managers and coordinators
  • Course coordinators
  • School professional staff

Procedure (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

1.1. Establishment of course assessment committees

1.1.1 The Dean/Head of School will ensure that course assessment committees are established for each course offered by the school. Course assessment committees are not required to be convened for Vocational Education courses with ungraded competency-based assessment, other than to improve amendment to final results or the entry of final results where a result was left black at the date of publication. Otherwise schools have discretion to convene Committees for thesis courses.

1.1.2 Schools and colleges have flexibility around how they organise their committees. Meetings can be held concurrently to ensure efficiency and may deal with multiple programs and courses, as appropriate to the size and complexity of the school or college.

1.1.3 In schools where there are multiple disciplines separate course assessment committees may need to be established to consider the results for all courses in the discipline. In other schools a single course assessment committee might review and approve the results of all courses managed by the school.

1.1.4 This procedure outlines a proposed quorum for the committee, so schools or colleges have flexibility about who is involved and can decide how to organise these meetings to undertake the actions within the terms of reference.

Dean/head of school

At the commencment of each academic year

1.2. Membership of course assessment committees

1.2.1 The membership of the course assessment committee will comprise:

  • Deputy Dean/Head of School Learning and Teaching or discipline head, or nominee (Chair) (See Definitions section also)
  • Staff responsible for course management/ coordination
  • Staff responsible for marking and grading assessment. In the case of VET courses the program team may act as the committee, with the program manager/leader as (Chair).

1.2.2 A quorum of a meeting of the course assessment committees will comprise:

  • Chair;
  • at least one member of staff responsible for course management/coordination; and
  • at least one marker/grader for each location in which the course is delivered.

1.2.3 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.

1.2.4 Professional support will also be provided from within the school.

1.3. Terms of reference

The course assessment committee is responsible for the following activities for all courses offered by the school:

  • finalisation of any missing and interim results and recording the reason/s for missing and interim results
  • monitoring grade distribution
  • adjustment, scaling and moderation of results at the course level, ensuring comparability of standards of results across locations (in accordance with the Assessment: moderation and validation procedure)
  • ensuring an auditable quality process has been actioned for all narrowly failed final grades
  • granting supplementary assessment in accordance with the Assessment: adjustments to assessment procedure
  • approval of final grades for courses (other than administrative final grades: see the student results grades table in the Assessment: management of results procedure for administrative grades that do not require course assessment committee approval)
  • approving changes to interim and final grades and the entry of final grades after the official date of publication of results for the course
  • allocating course-based prizes, awards or commendations
  • reviewing course outcome statistics and making recommendations/assigning action items accordingly
  • providing data on all post-publication date results changes (and entries) to the Dean/Head of School and Deputy PVC Learning and Teaching of the College each teaching period
  • ensuring that a permanent and auditable record of the minutes of the meeting is created and maintained
  • providing notification about failure/s in courses by PhD or Masters by Research candidates to the Higher Degrees by Research Coordinator (or equivalent) in the school
  • formally approving the minutes of the previous meeting, and executive decisions made subsequent to that meeting.

Chair - Course assessment committees

At the end of each main teaching period, or when student results are available (whichever is the earlier) and before the scheduled meeting of the program assessment board

1.4. Frequency of meetings

The course assessment committee will meet at the end of each teaching period, after marking has taken place and as course results are being finalized, or as required throughout the teaching period.

At the end of each main teaching period, or when student results are available (which ever is earlier) and before the scheduled meeting of the Program Assessment Board

1.5. Record of the meeting

A detailed permanent and audible record of the proceedings of the course assessment committee will be created and maintained by the school.

Secretary – Course assessment committees

As soon as practical after the meeting

2. Program assessment boards (coursework programs)

The Dean/Head of School is responsible for ensuring that a program assessment board is established to monitor and manage student academic progress at a program level in all programs managed by the school. This section sets out the membership and terms of reference for program assessment boards.

The program assessment board is a decision-making body.

The findings and recommendations of the program assessment board should be available to inform the program quality review processes.

Who is involved in this process?

  • Deputy Dean/Head, Learning and Teaching
  • Deputy Dean/Head (Discipline)
  • Program managers and coordinators
  • Other academic staff who play a significant role in the delivery of the program
  • School Professional staff

Procedure (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

2.1. Establishment of program assessment boards

2.1.1 The Dean/Head of School will ensure that a program assessment board is established to monitor and manage student academic progress at a program level in all coursework programs offered by the school.

2.1.2 A program assessment board may be organised by school or by program (or by location in regional and transnational situations). In VET programs, the membership of the program assessment board may comprise all members of the program team.

Deans/Heads of School

At the commencment of each academic year

2.2. Membership of program assessment boards

2.2.1 The membership of the program assessment board will comprise:

  • Deputy Dean/Head, Learning and Teaching (Chair) (See Definitions section also)
  • Deputy Dean/Head (Discipline) or nominee
  • Program manager, leader, coordinator or nominee
  • Year or course coordinators
  • Representatives of other schools involved in shared double degrees or service taught courses

2.2.2A quorum of a meeting of the program assessment board will comprise

  • Chair; and
  • At least one member of the academic and teaching staff from the discipline from any membership category

Secretarial support will be provided from within the school.

2.3. Terms of reference

The program assessment board is responsible for the following activities within the program/s for which it is constituted:

  • approving, or where a course is managed by another school, requesting, the award of a supplementary assessment on the basis of a narrow failure in one course which is the final course needed by the student to graduate
  • reviewing the grades or competencies achieved and academic progress of each student in the program in each teaching period
  • determining honours degree classifications and pass with distinction for completing students
  • graduation eligibility checking
  • approving allocation of program-level prizes and awards
  • identifying students who are at risk of unsatisfactory academic performance (first stage) and nominating an academic advisor to develop a performance improvement plan with the student (or without the student if they choose not to participate)
  • monitoring interventions made with students at risk of unsatisfactory academic progress and recommending to the Dean/Head of School actions to improve the effectiveness of the academic advisement process
  • identifying students with established unsatisfactory academic progress (final stage) and requesting the secretary to invite the student to show cause why they should not be excluded from the University
  • considering student ‘show cause’ submissions (written and/or in person) against exclusion and deciding whether the student has demonstrated cause to remain in the program. The program assessment board will either recommend to the Dean/Head of School that the student should be excluded from the program or decide other actions where a student provides an acceptable case, or where upon review of the student’s record the board elect to recommend the student remain in their program, in accordance with the procedures for unsatisfactory academic progress (coursework programs)
  • arranging for students formally identified as at risk first or final stage to be recorded on the student database in accordance with the instructions of the Academic Registrar
  • ensuring that a permanent and auditable record of the minutes of the meeting is kept and approving the minutes of the previous meeting
  • considering recommendations from Course assessment committees in relation to student or program cohort performance.

Chair - Program assessment board

At the end of each main teaching period, when student results are available

2.4. Frequency of meetings

The program assessment board will meet at the end of each semester/term, after course results have been finalised by the course assessment committees. It may be necessary for the board to meet on more than one occasion to consider results arising from supplementary and deferred assessments, and to consider show cause submissions received from students who have reached final stage of unsatisfactory academic progress.

Depending on the number of programs being considered, the agenda for the program assessment board meeting may be divided into sections grouping a number of programs together where those attending for particular sections of the agenda will be the relevant deputy dean/head (Discipline), and program managers and other academic staff making a significant contribution to the program.

At the end of each main teaching period before the publication of results.

After the conduct of deferred assessments, and after the receipt of show cause submissions.

2.5. Record of the meeting

A detailed, permanent and auditable record of the proceedings of the program assessment boards will be created and maintained by the school.

Secretary – Program assessment board.

As soon as practical after the meeting.

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