Marking and distribution of grades
The Assessment Policy and Procedures set out the principles underpinning assessment at the University.
The Business School uses standards-based assessment. This means the awarding of marks to students to reflect the level of performance (or standard) they have achieved. Students grades are therefore not determined in relation to the performance of others, nor to predetermined distributions.
The School uses the grades detailed in Schedule 1 of the Assessment Policy.
Grades of 'PCON - Pass (Concessional)' are not awarded or recognised in any award course offered by the University of Sydney Business School, are treated as failures for the purposes of progression and do not satisfy award course requirements. This regulation also applies to grades in units of study offered by other faculties that are counted towards School award courses or the School's component of combined award courses.
Assurance of marking decisions
The University operates on the basis that academic decisions in relation to assessment, examining etc, are entrusted to members of the academic staff acting in accordance with proper procedures established by the University and the Faculty or discipline in question. These procedures are detailed below.
- Student work undertaken for assessment purposes will be marked fairly, independently and on the merits of the submitted/performed work.
- Tasks are marked according to the published criteria (such as marking schema and grade descriptors) which have been provided to students.
- Where work undertaken as part of a designated group forms part of the assessment for a unit of study, specific criteria by which the marks are awarded to individual students will be determined within each unit of study.
- Established measures for ensuring consistency amongst markers on the same unit of study within the same academic year will be used. Such measures will be determined by the Discipline.
- Measures for ensuring consistency of standards in marking will be used are listed in the next section.
- The Business School has formalised the processes where needed adjustments may be made to the assessment or marking of students. In some situations, students may seek a change to the marking or assessment specified in the units of study outline for a unit in which they are enrolled. These requests will only be considered in three circumstances:
- lllness or misadventure (Special Consideration)
- Cultural, religious, national defence, legal, essential employment or sporting commitments (Special Arrangements)
- Ongoing illness or disability (Personal Learning Plan, administered by the Disability Services Office).
- Assessment or marking criteria for individual students, such as replacement exams, can only be varied in these three instances
Moderating and marking assessments
Design of assessment
- Assessment tasks are designed ensuring that they allow students to demonstrate achievement of intended learning outcomes and are within the expected student workload.
- Assessments should be peer reviewed by a disciplinary colleague during/after development. Peer review considers standards and internal consistencies. Peer review applies to first-time UoS coordinators or the first time a new assessment task is used and if the assessment is worth ≥ 25% grade. Appropriate steps will be as determined by the Discipline.
Process of Assessment
- Assessment details should be provided to students and further discussed during semester to assist clarification of standards. Past exemplars, where appropriate, can be made available to help clarify understandings of criteria and standards. Where exemplars are not available, grade descriptions will be used.
- If there is a team of markers, coordinators should take appropriate steps to ensure that there is a shared understanding of standards amongst multiple markers. Appropriate steps will be as determined by the Discipline.
- If there is a team of markers, any variations in marking standards should be addressed by the coordinator. If moderation is delayed and variations in standards cannot be explained, the assessments in question will need to be remarked. No arbitrary adjustments to marks can be made.
- At the end of semester, the UoS Coordinator will carry out a review of the unit. When all assessments have been accumulated and grades awarded, the UoS Coordinator in collaboration with peers, should consider grade distribution and possible influences (e.g. new curriculum; innovative assessment task; small honours cohort) as well as any available student feedback and recommend any changes for a future UoS Coordinator to consider.
- No arbitrary ex-post adjustments including scaling of marks to a distribution can be made.
- In addition to the UOS Coordinator Review, further School planning, quality assurance, quality enhancement and accreditation measures should occur. These actions include: the Chair reviewing grade distributions and taking further action if appropriate (e.g. requesting copy of UoS Review and considering an improvement support strategy for future semester); program directors and GSB/USB using the information in program reviews; School L&T Committee developing reports for University L&T Committee; accrediting teams and benchmarking experts using samples of assessments and reports during visits as part of assurance of learning.
- Double marking is defined as the practice by which two or more academic staff members review a piece of assessment in its entirety prior to awarding a formal mark for the work.
- The School has determined that double marking will occur in the case of a student failing to satisfy academic standards on a single written assessment task which is worth 40% or more of the total assessment for a unit of study and where it has been marked entirely by a single marker. For example, double marking will not occur when a student scores less than 20 out of 40 for a 40% assessment if the assessment had different questions marked by different markers and the quality assurance process has been followed as detailed above.
- In addition to point 2, Unit of Study Coordinators may request a double marking for a piece of assessment. Where this has occurred, the better mark of the two marks will be used.
- There can be no movement of marks without a remark of the questioned assessment (or part thereof) by a different marker who must sign off and approve any change in marks.
- Remarking is defined as an independent assessment of a piece of written work that has already been assessed at the request of the student.
- A remarking request triggers the informal appeals process.
- Academics are not obliged to arrange a remark by an independent assessor as part of the informal appeal if sound academic processes as detailed above have been followed.
- If the request becomes a part of the formal appeals process, the Director of Academic Appeals or their nominee shall determine whether to allow a remark for a particular piece of written work if it can be demonstrated that the due academic process has not been followed.