Principles of Assessment

Student doing an in-class quiz

Assessment practice at Sydney is recognised as central to our students' learning and achievement of unit and program/course learning outcomes. Assessment practices promote academic integrity and ethical behaviour for both students and staff.

The Assessment@Sydney Assessment Principles apply at both unit and program/course level, individual and group assessment tasks:

  • Program focus
    Assessment strategies for each unit will include consideration of the assessment profile across the whole program to ensure that these skills/knowledge/attributes expressed in program learning outcomes are introduced, developed and mastered.
  • First year focus
    Specific attention needs to be given to first year coursework (undergraduate and postgraduate) to induct students into the assessment practices and culture of higher education.
  • Leadership
    Those responsible/accountable at program/year and unit coordination level have a vital leadership role to play in the design and implementation of assessment tasks and overall strategies.

Assessment Principle

Attainment Level 1

Attainment Level 2

PRINCIPLE 1: ASSESSMENT PRACTICES MUST ADVANCE STUDENT LEARNING

 

 

Assessment practices align with goals, context, learning activities and learning outcomes

UoS outlines include evidence of the alignment.

Students experience the alignment.

A variety of assessment tasks are used, while ensuring that student and staff workloads are considered

Program assessment tasks vary. Staff workload formulae include assessment loads.

Program/year co-ordinator monitors/maps student assessment demands.

Assessment tasks reflect increasing levels of complexity across a program and foster enquiry-based learning

Descriptions of assessment tasks include an indication of complexity.

Assessment task complexity increases with progress through the program.

Constructive, timely and respectful feedback develops student skills of self and peer evaluation and guides the development of future student work

Examples of constructive, timely and respectful feedback given are common.

Students experience the feedback as constructive, timely and respectful.

PRINCIPLE 2: ASSESSMENT PRACTICES MUST BE CLEARLY COMMUNICATED TO STUDENTS AND STAFF

 

 

Unit of study outlines are available in the first week of offering and communicate the purposes, timing, weighting and extent of assessment in sufficient detail to allow students to plan their approach to assessment

Communicative UoS outlines are available in the first week.

Students experience UoS outlines as being useful in planning their assessment approach.

Unit of study outlines explain the rationale for the selection of assessment tasks (e.g. group task) in relation to learning outcomes

Rationale exists in UoS outline.

Students experience assessment tasks as related to learning outcomes.

Procedures exist to ensure that all staff involved in teaching of a unit share a common understanding of assessment practices

Procedures exist to develop a common understanding.

Staff have a common understanding.

The process of marking and of combining individual task marks is explicitly explained in the unit outline

Explanation is given in the UoS outline.

Process is implemented as explained.

PRINCIPLE 3: ASSESSMENT PRACTICES MUST BE VALID AND FAIR

 

 

Assessment tasks are authentic and appropriate to disciplinary and/or professional context

Peer review confirms authenticity and appropriateness.

Students experience tasks as authentic and appropriate.

Assessment incorporates rigorous academic standards related to the discipline(s) and is based on pre-determined, clearly articulated criteria that students actively engage with

Program standards exist and are given to students.

UoS standards align with program standards and are given to students

Assessment will be evaluated solely on the basis of students' achievement against criteria and standards specified to align with learning outcomes

Students' grades are aligned with the UoS and program standards.

Students experience alignment between grades and¿¿¿¿ standards.

Assessment practices address issues of equity and inclusiveness to accommodate and build upon the diversity of the student body so as not to disadvantage any student

Issues of equity and inclusiveness in assessment are considered and tackled.

Students experience equity and inclusiveness.

PRINCIPLE 4: ASSESSMENT PRACTICES MUST BE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVED AND UPDATED

 

 

Assessment tasks and outcomes are moderated through academic peer review and used to inform subsequent practice

Academic peer review exists.

Moderation of tasks and outcomes occurs.

Assessment is regularly updated to ensure alignment with program learning outcomes or graduate attributes

Assessment is regularly updated.

Updates maintain alignment with learning outcomes.

Professional development opportunities that are related to design, implementation and moderation of assessment are provided to staff

Opportunities are made available to staff.

Opportunities are taken up by staff.

 

Further resources