Admin & assessment   L&T and assessment   Managing student expectations
University policies on assessment       Assessment resources

Facilitating assessment tasks

This page is about how to best facilitate assessment tasks during semester. For information about designing assessment tasks in your unit of study (UoS) see our section on Assessment tasks.

Administration and assessment

The rules on late work and extensions may vary across faculties and even from department to department. Check with the head of your department to make sure you know the policy on these.

Clarify, for your students, the last day that they can withdraw from the unit, or discontinue the unit without failing, as well as the admin process involved. If a student has not submitted assessment tasks that are due before these cut-off dates, and has not requested special consideration, you may wish to send an email to the student, checking that they are OK and possibly suggesting that they consider withdrawal or discontinuation. See our section on Timetabling & enrolment issues for more information.

Many faculties are now using online systems to record (and display) assessment marks. If your faculty does not have a preferred system available, the Grade Centre in your eLearning site will allow you to easily manage marks and communicate these to students. You can choose whether to allow your tutors to enter the marks for your UoS. If you do, it is a good idea to let your tutors know that they should not release the marks for students to view until you have approved them.

Learning & teaching aspects of assessment

For a discussion on how to incorporate assessment tasks into your UoS see Unit of study design.

Managing student expectations

  • Remember to clarify the assessment criteria for your students in your UoS outline and during your classes. Students may need quite detailed explanations, and it can help for them to know the reasoning behind the tasks you have set, and how these connect to the broader skills and understandings they are learning in the unit.
    See UoS outline preparation.
  • Talk explicitly about the standards required to achieve each of the merit grades: Credit, Distinction and High Distinction. Many first year students will have been high achievers in their high school days, and may have inappropriate expectations about their marks at university. Giving annotated excerpts or examples of work at different grade levels can help them develop a more realistic understanding of what they need to do to achieve outstanding marks in this context.
  • Use quick and easy, formative assessment tasks to help students understand how they are doing, and how much additional work they may need to do to succeed in the summative assessment tasks. This also gives you feedback on the effectiveness of your teaching, and on any areas that might need more attention or revision. See Evaluating your teaching.
  • You will help your students to learn more effectively, and get a clearer sense of how they are going, with prompt grading of summative assessment tasks and regular feedback throughout the semester. It is useful to use both a checklist with assessment criteria, and some personal remarks about the student’s strengths or areas for improvement. The checklist ensures equity and clear marking standards, while students will often feel more supported and motivated if you make individualised comments. See Feedback during semester.

University policies relating to assessment

There are a number of University policies which detail the University principles underpinning assessment, and the processes for supporting students’ academic progression.

For full details of policies related to assessment procedures see our page on Assessment policy.

Assessment resources

The Business School’s Learning & Teaching assessment pages provide comprehensive information, much of which is generally applicable.

The Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences’ Assessment Resources area includes exemplary practices, as well as information and advice about assessment. While the site is designed primarily for those teaching humanities and social science subjects, it can be accessed by all University of Sydney staff (you will need your unikey for access) and you will find some excellent ideas that can be applied in many discipline areas.

Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe) is an online resource for good practice in assessment. The central theme is that learning and teaching experiences that offer students opportunities to actively assess their own and their peers’ work help them to acquire an understanding of academic assessment standards.

Links to a variety of resources on assessment can be found towards the bottom of the University of Western Australia’s Teaching & Learning resources page.

The fundamentals of effective assessment: Twelve principles can be found on the Centre for the Study of Higher Education/Australian Universities Teaching Committee (CSHE/AUTC) website under tips for people new to academic teaching.

You will also find a Good practice directory for assessment in various disciplines on the CSHE/AUTC website.