Assessment: Academic progress (coursework programs) procedure

Intent

In the interests of students, to maintain a high standard of learning and teaching in programs, and to meet external regulatory requirements, the University:

  • monitors all students’ academic progress,
  • identifies students whose academic progress is less than satisfactory so that they may be offered appropriate learning support, resources and assistance, and
  • where students continue to make unsatisfactory academic progress despite being offered learning support, may exclude them from their program

Objectives

  • To establish mandatory procedures for the management of student progress.
  • To identify the basis for providing students who have unsatisfactory academic performance with knowledge of and access to appropriate learning support, resources and assistance.
  • To identify the mandatory steps to be followed where the Dean/Head of School decides to exclude a student who has demonstrated ongoing unsatisfactory progress.

Scope

Except where otherwise stated, this procedure applies to all programs offered by RMIT University in the following careers:

  • Higher Education coursework
  • Vocational Education and Training
  • Foundation Studies
  • Victorian Certificate of Education
  • Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning

Exclusions

Higher degree by research programs.

Procedure Steps And Actions:

1. General responsibilities for academic progress

1.1 Students

Students are responsible for being committed to their learning, including taking responsibility for their own academic progress. Students who have been identified as making unsatisfactory progress, or who are at risk of making unsatisfactory progress, are expected to take all possible steps to improve their performance including seeking feedback, using available academic and other support services and participating fully in the development and implementation of an academic performance improvement plan.

1.2 Schools
School staff are responsible for providing a supportive learning and environment that will enable students to improve their performance where it has been deemed unsatisfactory. The school that offers a program is responsible for monitoring the academic progress of all students enrolled in that program in accordance with this procedure.

1.3 University
The University will provide academic and other support services to empower students to develop specific skills that will assist them to improve their performance.

Program assessment boards will be managed in accordance with this procedure and the Assessment: college assessment committees and program assessment boards procedure.

2. Definition of unsatisfactory academic performance

Academic Board will approve the criteria by which students may be considered to have unsatisfactory academic performance. Schedules 1 and 2 to this procedure set out the currently approved criteria.

3. Requirement to use only approved correspondence templates and pro formas

A number of external regulatory and legislative requirements apply to communication between RMIT and its students regarding their academic progress. In all of the procedural steps identified below, schools are required to use the standard University-approved templates provided on the website. Any modification to these templates must be approved by the Academic Registrar.

4. Responsibility for, and timing of monitoring student academic progress

Higher education, Foundation Studies and Vocational Education and Training careers

Victorian Certificate of Education, Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and Foundation Studies

Responsibility

Program assessment boards will monitor and make recommendations to the Dean/Head of School concerning student progress. These boards will be constituted and operate in accordance with the Assessment: college assessment committees and program assessment board procedures.

Teachers will be responsible for progressive in-semester monitoring.

In the case of VCE and VCAL programs Year level coordinators will be responsible for producing the end of unit report (year 11) and end of unit feedback report (year 12) on behalf of the Director of VET programs, School of Education.

Timing

Timing

The academic performance of each student enrolled in a program will be monitored at least at the end of each compulsory study period (or at no greater than six-monthly intervals where the compulsory study period or course length is greater than six months’ duration).

The academic performance of each student will be monitored both progressively throughout the semester and at the end of each unit in accordance with the requirements of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

5. Stages in the management of unsatisfactory academic progress

There are two stages in the management of unsatisfactory academic progress, First and Final Stage.

5.1 First stage – at risk of unsatisfactory progress

5.1.1 A student who has demonstrated unsatisfactory academic performance in a compulsory semester or nominated teaching period will be deemed First Stage –at risk of unsatisfactory progress (hereafter referred to as First Stage At Risk*).

[* For Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning students this stage is also referred to as on ‘Probation’. Any reference to First Stage At Risk in this procedure has the same meaning as ‘Probation’.]

5.1.2 A student may appeal a decision to classify them as First Stage At Risk to the College Appeals Committee: see section 11 below.

5.1.3 Schools must make an academic intervention for students who are First Stage At Risk. The goals of the intervention are to provide advice and ensure such students are provided with knowledge of and access to appropriate learning and other support, resources and assistance to empower them to improve their academic performance in the next compulsory study period.

5.1.4 The intervention must include the development of an individual academic performance improvement plan to identify actions that will help the student make satisfactory progress in future teaching periods. The plan will be an unambiguous document that can act as an action plan for the student and a clarification of the expectations of the University.

5.1.5 The appropriate intervention will vary according to:

    • the needs of individual students,
    • the nature of the program delivery format or location, and
    • the range of services available

5.1.6The required process for the intervention is set out in the Assessment: academic progress first and final stage instructions.

5.2 Final stage: established unacceptable academic progress

5.2.1 A student who has had unsatisfactory academic performance in more than one teaching period (such periods must be consecutive in the case of Vocational Education and Training students*) within the same program (or group of nested programs) is considered to be at Final Stage, established unacceptable academic progress (hereafter referred to as Final Stage). However this section does not apply to:

      • apprentices and trainees (whose candidature will be managed in accordance with their training contract), or
      • local Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning students (whose candidature will be managed in accordance with the procedures of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority), or
      • students in Open University Australia programs delivered by RMIT University

        [* Where a VET student experiences a subsequent incident of unsatisfactory academic performance in a non-consecutive semester in the same program they must continue to be managed in accordance with the process for First Stage At Risk.]

5.2.2 A student who is deemed to be at Final Stage will be invited to ‘show cause’ why they should not be excluded from their academic program.

6. Exclusion

6.1 A Dean/Head of School , on the advice of the program assessment board, may decide to exclude a student who has reached final stage, established unacceptable academic progress where the student has either failed to provide a ‘show cause’ submission or where, in the opinion of the program assessment board, their submission does not demonstrate that they will achieve satisfactory academic performance.

6.2 It is not mandatory that a student at Final Stage be excluded. The program assessment board is expected to exercise academic judgement, taking account of the student’s overall performance in the program and other relevant issues.

6.3 In managing the Final Stage process the program assessment board must follow the Assessment: academic progress first and final stage instruction.

7. Timing of exclusion recommendations

To ensure procedural fairness in the management of exclusions the Academic Registrar will identify a deadline for exclusion recommendations to be submitted by deans/heads of school for each compulsory semester or nominated teaching period.

8. Notification of exclusion

8.1 The Academic Registrar (or nominee) will advise the student (normally via student email) of the University’s intention to exclude them and inform them that they are entitled to appeal the decision to the University Appeals Committee. Any appeal application must be lodged no later than 20 working days from the date the notification of exclusion was sent. The notification to international students studying in Australia will state that the University is required to report them to the relevant Australian Government agencies for unsatisfactory academic progress and that they waive their right to an external review process if they fail to lodge an internal appeal.

8.2 The date this notice is sent will be the ‘effective date’ of commencement of the period of exclusion.

8.3 If no appeal is lodged at the expiry of 20 working days after this notification has been sent, the Academic Registrar (or nominee) will arrange for the student’s enrolment to be cancelled as of the ‘effective date’.

9. Effect of exclusion

9.1 A student who has been excluded from his/her academic program may not be readmitted to that program for a period of 12 months from the ‘effective date’ of exclusion. Readmission is not automatically granted. The student must apply for readmission into the program in the normal way. Where a program entry application deadline falls before the expiry of the 12 month period of exclusion (for the program to which the exclusion applies) the student is entitled to lodge an application. If accepted for readmission, the student may recommence in the teaching period immediately after the exclusion period expires, or the next available teaching period.

9.2 Unless otherwise prohibited, a student who has been excluded on the grounds of established unacceptable academic progress in a specific program may apply for admission to other RMIT programs during their period of exclusion, provided they meet the normal application and entry requirements. If, however, a student is admitted to another program, the exclusion from the original program will remain in effect.

9.3 A student who has been excluded is not an enrolled student of the University during their period of exclusion unless they are subsequently admitted to another program and complete the enrolment process.

9.4 The University will report the exclusion of international students studying in Australia to the relevant Australian Government agencies, unless the exclusion is overturned on appeal or review.

10. Effect of ‘established unacceptable academic progress’ on an Australian student visa:

Australian student visa requirements may be breached where an international student studying in Australia has established unacceptable academic progress. The Education Services for Overseas Student Act 2000 (ESOS) (National Code) requires that the University report such students to relevant Australian Government agencies.

11. Appeals against exclusion

11.1 Appeals against classification as First Stage At Risk

Students with a current enrolment (including those on an approved period of leave of absence) are entitled to appeal the decision of a Program Assessment Board to classify them as First Stage At Risk where they provide evidence that they meet the following grounds.

11.1.1 There is evidence that the decision was made on the basis of personal bias or ill will; and/or

11.1.2 There is evidence of a breach of this procedure or another relevant university statute, regulation, policy or procedure in the classification of the student as First Stage at Risk.

11.2Appeals against a classification as First Stage At Risk will be managed in accordance with Regulation 5.4.2 – The College Appeals Committee and must be lodged with the Secretary of the College Appeals Committee with 20 working days of the date the notice of classification as First Stage At Risk was sent to the student by the Program Assessment Board.

11.3 Appeals against exclusion

Students with a current enrolment (including those on an approved period of leave of absence) are entitled to appeal the decision to exclude them from a program where they provide evidence that they meet the following grounds.

11.3.1There is evidence that the decision was made on the basis of personal bias or ill will; and/or

11.3.2There is evidence of a breach of this procedure or another relevant university statute, regulation, policy or procedure in the handling of the exclusion process (this includes evidence of procedural error in the handling of an appeal against assessment or evidence that the school failed to implement the academic progress intervention strategy described in this policy and its associated procedures); and/or

11.3.3There is evidence that the penalty of exclusion is unreasonable, excessive or inappropriate (this includes evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances [see Definitions and Acronyms section]); and/or

11.3.4There is significant new, relevant evidence that was not available at the time the student was required to show cause why they should not be excluded.

11.4 Appeals against exclusion will be managed in accordance with Regulation 5.4.4 – The University Appeals Committee and must be lodged with the Secretary of the University Appeals Committee within 20 working days of the date the notice of exclusion was sent by the Academic Registrar (or nominee).

11.5 A student is entitled to remain enrolled and attend classes during the 20 working day appeal window and until such time as the appeal outcome is known. Alternatively a student who wishes to appeal may apply to take leave of absence. If their appeal is dismissed or deemed invalid, however, the University’s final decision to exclude a student will override any period of approved leave of absence.

12. Applications to the University Appeals Committee that are deemed by the Academic Registrar not to satisfy the grounds for appeal:

12.1 Where an appeal application is deemed not to meet the grounds for appeal, the student will be notified that their application for appeal has been unsuccessful and that they have 10 working days from the date this notification is sent in which to seek an external review.

12.2 Where a student does seek an external review they must provide evidence to the Academic Registrar of their lodgement of an application for review within this time-frame if they wish to continue to be enrolled (or on approved leave of absence) while that review is being conducted.

12.3 If no valid notice of application for external review is lodged with the Academic Registrar, at the expiry of the 10 working day window of time the Academic Registrar (or nominee) will arrange the cancellation of the student’s enrolment as of the ‘effective date’.

13. Applications to the University Appeals Committee that are deemed to satisfy the grounds for appeal:

13.1 Where the application is deemed to have addressed the grounds, the appeal will be heard by the University Appeals Committee.

13.2 If the University Appeals Committee dismisses an appeal against exclusion, the Secretary of the University Appeals Committee will inform the student that they have 10 working days in which to seek an external review of its decision.

13.3 Where a student does seek an external review they must provide evidence to the Academic Registrar of their lodgement of application for review within this time-frame if they wish to continue to be enrolled or on approved leave of absence while that review is being conducted.

13.4 If no valid notice of application for external review is lodged with the Academic Registrar at the expiry of 10 working days after the date the University Appeals Committee decision has been sent, the Academic Registrar (or nominee) will arrange cancellation of the student’s enrolment as of the effective date.

13.5 Where a student’s external review application is dismissed by the external reviewer, the Academic Registrar (or nominee) will arrange cancellation of the student’s enrolment as of the effective date.

14. Notifications required under ESOS Act

Where an international student studying in Australia is excluded for unsatisfactory academic progress, the Academic Registrar will advise the Director, International Services to report the student to the Federal Government in accordance with the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act and National Code.

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