Assessment @ Sydney: Principles of Assessment identifies the University’s expectations regarding the design, implementation and review of assessment practices.
This document addresses four key principles which apply to assessment procedures at the University. Particular emphasis is placed on assessment as a learning experience in itself.
The preamble notes that we need to pay specific attention to first year coursework.
First year students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, need to be given opportunities to develop the skills, understandings and ways of communicating expected in the disciplines they are studying. Providing students with early feedback that assists them to further develop these skills is an expectation of first year units of study (UoS).
Moderation (for example, by peers) of both the assessment task and the marking of assessment is now expected.
The University has endorsed standards based assessment whereby students are marked against predetermined criteria and standards/ grade definitions. Your Associate Dean Learning and Teaching can explain how this works in your Faculty.
Your UoS outline is one way to introduce the Principles of Assessment and to make sure students are also aware of University policy requirements on assessment.
The links to Assessment @ Sydney and to relevant policies can be provided in the appropriate section of your outline. See our section on UoS outline for information about UoS templates which include this information.
It can also be a good idea to verbally draw your students’ attention to these at the beginning of the semester, for example in their first lecture or tutorial.
Assessment Policy 2011
For information on the responsibilities of unit coordinators, examiners, lecturers and tutors, and students when it comes to implementing assessment policy see section 16.
Assessment Procedures 2011
Procedures relating to the University policy on assessment and examination of coursework.
The University Coursework rules
Award course requirements; credit points and assessment; enrolment; progression; discontinuation of enrolment and suspension of candidature; unsatisfactory progress and exclusion; exceptional circumstances; and so on.
Student Academic Progression policy
Principles and processes that enable the early detection of students making unsatisfactory progress; timely intervention and the provision of advice and assistance to support students.
For all of the areas considered below it is critical that the academic refer to faculty based practices as these policies may be interpreted in specific ways across different faculties. You may also find information on your relevant staff intranet.
Students need to be made aware that if they are not able to finish their assessment tasks on time they may apply for an extension.
- The length of time available for an extension on a project’s due date varies from faculty to faculty, so check with your department head about the rules in your discipline.
- The student will need to apply for an extension prior to the due date, and again these rules may vary across the faculties.
- Ensure that all this information is clearly stated in your UoS outline. Also make them aware of the penalties associated with delivering work late, if they have not applied for an extension, or if they are not able to meet their extended deadline.
- If your faculty uses online submission of assignments, clarify for the students the expected day of submission if their extension should mean their assessment task falls due on the weekend.
It is the student’s responsibility to apply for the extension. You will then be contacted by student administration and required to approve the application, following faculty guidelines.
See administration of forms, below, for information about lodgement etc.
Students whose studies have been affected by serious illness or misadventure can apply to their faculty for special consideration.
- Generally, a ‘serious illness’ is defined as one which stops students from working at their normal level for more than one week. Illness for less than one week is not normally regarded as sufficient to explain an absence or poor performance and students should be discouraged from submitting an application in this case.
- ‘Misadventure’ refers to situations impacting on students that are out of their control, such as personal injury or serious and unforeseeable illness of a family member.
- The serious illness or misadventure cited in an application for special consideration should be a ‘one-off’ occurrence. If a student has a long-term illness, injury or disability which impacts on their studies they should be referred to the Disability Services.
Again, it is the student’s responsibility to apply for special consideration. You will then be contacted by student administration and required to approve the application, stating what length of time the student needs to complete the UoS assessment program or projects.
Information for staff regarding special consideration, can be found in the University’s Assessment Policy 2011, section 13.
Information for students regarding special consideration can be found on the current students’ website.
When a student is not able to meet assessment requirements this may require supplementary assessment and the creation of new assessment tasks, such as the re-writing of an examination.
See section 15 of the Assessment Policy 2011 for information on circumstances that make a student eligible for these special arrangements.
Special consideration and extension forms are faculty specific. The forms are provided by student administration in your faculty, and the student is responsible for lodging the form with administration and following up with their UoS coordinator, or admin, to determine the result of their applications.
It can be a good idea to include a link to these forms in your UoS outline as students may have difficulty finding them on the faculty website.
Be aware that changes to University policies may involve changes to the way the process is administered, and the specific documents that are required. If there are any changes, you will also need to update any links you provide on your UoS outline.
Assessment arrangements are organised by students with a disability through Disability Services.
- As with all arrangements through Disability Services, the UoS coordinator is required to make reasonable allowances for these students, nonetheless the coordinator of the unit is the final arbiter in assessment situations.
- If the coordinator feels that the extension or exam conditions will place unreasonable demands on the assessment processes (which may be the case in situations which require setting supplementary exams etc) they can then contact Disability Services to negotiate alternative arrangements.
Admin for assessment of students with a disability
- Admin procedures vary across faculties and in some circumstances your faculty may have a specific admin person who liaises with Disability Services who is notified when student requests are arranged, and who will then let you know.
- In all circumstances you will be contacted and informed of any arrangements made for assessments for students with a disability.
- There is no need for you to respond, or to approve arrangements made by Disability Services, unless these place unreasonable demands on your or your teaching staff’s workload in assessment situations, and you would like to make alternative arrangements.
Extensions on assignments, and so on
- Students registered with Disability Services are eligible for extensions based on arrangements made when they first register.
- They will have to contact Disability Services if they want to take advantage of this eligibility in a specific UoS.
- Disability Services will then contact the UoS coordinator directly to let them know an extension has been recommended for the student. If you don’t respond it is assumed the approval is automatic.
- As mentioned above, there is no need to respond unless you wish to negotiate alternative arrangements.
Special conditions for exams
- A student’s eligibility to apply for particular exam conditions (such as extra time, special equipment etc) are set when the student registers with Disability Services.
- If the student applies for these considerations the coordinator is then notified when the request is made.
- Students are required to submit their request at least a week prior to the exam. However there are times where requests are made at the last minute, due to events out of the student’s control. Disabilty Services will contact you as soon as possible to negotiate arrangements in such situations.
Disability and special consideration
- A student registered with Disability Services who is facing exceptional circumstances (such as those listed in the section on ‘Special consideration’) can also apply for special consideration.
- If they require special consideration they will need to contact their faculty student administrators and follow the usual faculty procedures.
- Generally Disability Services will not be involved in student’s application except in more extreme situations, in which case they will be in contact with the UoS coordinator.
Each faculty also has at least one nominated Student Disability Liaison Officer who is a member of the teaching staff. These are the “go to” people for any faculty specific questions.
You can also contact Disability Services if you require more information.
You can find information about the University policy on assessment for students with a disability in section 14 of the University Assessment Policy.
Students who contact you for advice on special consideration can be referred to their faculty office, the Student Centre or the Counselling Service as appropriate.
The Counselling Service provides advice and assistance for students seeking special consideration.
Students will need to lodge an appeal against an academic decision using the forms provided by their faculty admin. Your faculty may have specific rules regarding students appeal. Again it is best to check with your faculty’s Associate Dean of Learning & Teaching regarding any learning and teaching issues, and your faculty admin for information on administration issues around student appeals.
Student Affairs administers appeals.
The University’s Student Appeals against Academic Decisions Rule provides a mechanism for the hearing of student appeals.
The Policy on Student grievances, Appeals and Applications for Review states the University’s process for handling student grievances for both academic and non-academic matters.