Assessment policy

Intent

To provide a single University-wide assessment policy that supports integrity in assessment.

Scope

This policy is made pursuant to Regulation 5.4.1 Assessment and academic progress. Except where otherwise stated it applies to all courses and programs offered by RMIT University in the following categories of award:

a) Higher Degree by Research

b) RMIT accredited programs

c) Vocational Education and Training

d) Foundation Studies

e) Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)

f) Open Universities Australia courses and programs delivered by RMIT

It also applies to courses undertaken at RMIT University via approved exchange, study abroad and cross-institutional enrolment

Exclusions

The thesis component of higher degrees by research programs

Objectives

To set out the principles that guide assessment and identify the procedures that govern the management of assessment in RMIT University programs and courses including:

a) principles of assessment

b) responsibility for the design, quality and compliance of assessment

c) adjustments to assessment

d) management of assessment results

e) review and appeals against assessment

f) academic progress, and

g) ownership and retention of work submitted for assessment

Policy provisions

1. Assessment principles

These principles emphasise the central role assessment plays in student learning at RMIT. Their purpose is to ensure that assessment tasks engage students in learning rather than simply measure student achievement; a quality assessment strategy is integral to quality teaching. The principles support assessment for learning and assessment as learning, as well as traditional assessment of learning.

RMIT defines assessment as the methods and procedures by which a student's academic progress and standard, at a given time, are measured. Within this single definition, the University recognises three types of assessment:

a) diagnostic – assessment that identifies the level of competency/performance/ knowledge before commencing learning in a course/ program/ learning experience but does not contribute to the student’s final grade;

b) formative – assessment that provides feedback to the student during the learning experience;

c) summative – assessment that is focussed on the outcomes of the learning experience and concerned with evaluation of the final outcomes of a learning experience.

The principles are based on and supported by evidence from recognised education research.

The principles apply to all programs delivered by RMIT. Programs also need to meet any relevant external regulatory and accreditation requirements.

1.1 Assessment is integral to program and course design

This principle is achieved when:

a) Assessment design is an integral part of curriculum planning and delivery from the earliest stages of program development.

b) Assessment tasks are mapped across a program and aligned with the learning outcomes of courses and the program.

c) Assessment explicitly contributes to students achieving desired graduate outcomes including competencies, learning outcomes and graduate attributes.

1.2 Assessment feedback is used to enable and enhance student learning

This principle is achieved when:

a) Assessment feedback is timely and promotes a positive attitude to future learning.

b) An early assessment task, either formative or summative, is included in introductory courses so that students can be provided with timely feedback that directs their learning.

c) The length and type of feedback varies depending on the nature and purpose of the assessment task.

d) Where appropriate, assessment feedback informs students of how they can improve.

e) Students engage with assessment feedback by being given opportunities to reflect on and act on feedback.

f) Formative feedback (in the form of teacher, self, peer and workplace feedback) is used to provide information or advice about the academic standards and expectations of a course or program.

1.3 Assessment develops students’ abilities to evaluate their own and others’ work against agreed standards

This principle is achieved when:

a) Students develop reflective practices which equip them both to generate and act on feedback according to a set of clearly defined criteria or standards.

b) Students take increasing responsibility for using feedback to enhance their learning as they progress through their program.

c) Relevant stakeholders (employers, industry, clients, teaching team) are actively involved in standard setting

d) Assessment tasks encourage students to reflect on their learning as a lifelong process.

1.4 Assessment inducts students into discipline, industry or professional practices and cultures

This principle is achieved when:

a) Assessment assists students to develop their ethical professional practice and identity and allows them to demonstrate academic integrity through research and referencing practices.

b) Assessment involving human participants or animal subjects is carried out ethically.

c) Assessment supports students’ transition into their professional and vocational practice after graduation through the use of authentic assessment tasks, workplace and/or other practice oriented learning and, where appropriate, portfolio-based assessment.

d) Assessment is customised to specific industry contexts relevant to students’ current and future work practice.

1.5 Assessment provides an authentic representation of student achievement

This principle is achieved when:

a) Students can demonstrate their learning, competencies and capabilities through their assessment.

b) Where final grades are used, they are based on cumulative assessment of students' learning.

c) Assessment tasks are evaluated using a criterion-referenced approach; that is, according to specific criteria that are clearly articulated and communicated to students and are not dependent upon the performance of their cohort.

d) Processes for determining and recording results ensure their integrity and timely publication.

1.6 Assessment is fair and provides for student diversity

This principle is achieved when:

a) An assessment task’s purpose, requirements, standards and marking criteria are clearly articulated.

b) Assessment tasks are varied, authentic and increase in complexity as students progress through their programs.

c) The amount and timing of assessment is manageable and practical.

d) Assessment is inclusive of diverse student cultures and learning needs.

e) Staff incorporate alternative ways of conducting assessment through the design of flexible assessment tasks.

f) Assessment sets students an appropriate level of challenge within an inclusive and supportive environment.

g) Assessment is equivalent and comparable across diverse locations and learning situations.

2 Responsibility for assessment design, quality and compliance

Every course will include student assessment.

Assessment and the monitoring of student progression and results play a critical role in safe guarding academic standards and ensuring comparable academic outcomes.

2.1 Deans/heads of school are responsible for implementing the following assessment procedures in support of the principles in section 1 above:

2.1.1 Course Assessment Committees and Program Assessment Boards procedure

This procedure sets out the terms of reference and other requirements for the two school committees responsible for

    • finalising and approving results
    • managing academic progress of students and
    • approving completion and level of qualifications

2.1.2 Academic integrity and plagiarism procedure

This procedure sets out the requirements for staff and students in relation to:

    • ensuring that students understand the need to avoid plagiarism and the penalties for plagiarism, and
    • the process for identifying and managing plagiarism when it occurs

2.1.3 Academic progress (coursework programs) procedure

This procedure sets out the requirements for staff and students in relation to:

    • managing students’ academic progress,
    • the process for providing support to students who are identified as at risk of unsatisfactory academic performance,
    • the process whereby a student who has demonstrated ongoing unsatisfactory progress can be excluded from their program, and
    • appeals against exclusion for unsatisfactory academic progress

2.1.4 Adjustments to assessment procedure

This procedure sets out the requirements for staff and students in relation to:

    • equitable assessment arrangements
    • special consideration
    • extensions of time for submission of assessable work
    • future assessment adjustments,
    • supplementary assessment, and
    • appeals against university decisions in relation to assessment adjustments.

2.1.5 Conduct of assessment and appeals procedure

This procedure sets out the requirements for staff and students in relation to:

    • the conduct of assessment,
    • provision of information on course assessment to students
    • approved methods for submission of student work for assessment
    • examination arrangements, and
    • the processes whereby a student can seek a review of, or appeal against, a final assessment result for a course

2.1.6 Management of results procedure

This procedure sets out the processes and requirements for:

    • entering results
    • changing results after they have been released to students, where this is necessary, and
    • calculating the grade point average of a student’s results

2.1.7 Moderation and validation of assessment procedure

This procedure sets out the processes and requirements for:

    • moderation of assessment, and
    • validation of assessment

[Next: Supporting documents and information]