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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 is 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 University’s Coursework Policy (2014).

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 a Fail grade 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.


  1. Student work undertaken for assessment purposes will be marked fairly, independently and on the merits of the submitted/performed work.
  2. Tasks are marked according to the published criteria (such as marking schema and grade descriptors) which have been provided to students.
  3. 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.
  4. For the purpose of assessing group work, all members of the group will be considered jointly responsible for the merit and educational integrity of the work submitted.
  5. 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.
  6. Wherever possible and practical, assessment of written assignments must be by means of anonymous marking. Exceptions to the requirement for anonymous marking include creative or performance-based assessments, iterative or scaffolded writing tasks, tasks that incorporate a presentation-based element and tasks that are reflective or relate to practicums or internships.
  7. Measures for ensuring consistency of standards in marking are listed in the next section.
  8. The Business School has formalised the processes whereby warranted 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 unit 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 (Academic Plan, administered by the Disability Services office).
  9. 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

  1. Assessment tasks are designed to ensure that they allow students to demonstrate achievement of intended learning outcomes and are within the expected student workload.
  2. 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 Unit of Study (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

  1. Assessment details should be provided to students and further discussed during semester to assist in the 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.
  2. If there is a team of markers, UoS 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.
  3. If there is a team of markers, any variations in marking standards should be addressed by the UoS 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.
  4. At the end of semester, the UoS Coordinator will undertake 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.
  5. No arbitrary ex-post adjustments, including scaling of marks to a distribution, can be made.
  6. In addition to the UOS Coordinator review, further School planning, quality assurance, quality enhancement and accreditation measures should occur. These actions include: the Associate Dean Education reviewing grade distributions and taking further action if appropriate (e.g. requesting a copy of the UoS Evaluation and considering an improvement support strategy for future semester); Program Directors and Graduate Studies Board (GSB)/Undergraduate Studies Board (USB) using the information in program reviews; the Associate Dean Education developing reports for the University Executive Education Committee; accrediting teams and benchmarking experts using samples of assessments and reports during visits as part of assurance of learning.

Double marking

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In addition to point 2, UoS 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.
  4. There can be no movement of marks without a re-mark of the questioned assessment (or part thereof) by a different marker who must sign off and approve any change in marks.


  1. Re-marking is defined as an independent assessment of a piece of written work that has already been assessed at the request of the student.
  2. A re-marking request triggers the informal appeals process.
  3. Academics are not obliged to arrange a re-mark by an independent assessor as part of the informal appeal if sound academic processes as detailed above have been followed. However, in cases where no re-marking is required, the academic’s response is expected to directly address the concerns raised by the student in their appeal.
  4. If the request becomes a part of the formal appeals process, the Associate Dean Student Life or their nominee shall determine whether to allow a re-mark for a particular piece of written work if it can be demonstrated that the due academic process has not been followed.