Academic calibration: the benefits of being a calibrator

Have you ever wondered how other people teach? Are you curious to know what others include in their topic guide, and how they design their assessments? Are you looking for ideas for your own topic and would like to see how it is taught elsewhere? Do you think your topic learning outcomes are on par with other institutions? Maybe you are of inquisitive mind, or perhaps you’re being strategic and are looking for activities to support a promotion application.

Whatever the circumstance, becoming an academic calibrator will benefit you.

Academic calibration is the process of external benchmarking at the topic level. It involves the review of topic materials – guides, rubrics, learning outcomes, assessment details and samples of marked student work – between IRU institutions to aid the quality improvement of topics and ensure comparability of assessment and learning outcomes across the IRU. As a process, it is fully facilitated by IRU Academic Calibration Coordinators at each institution and involves online access of topic materials and the review report.

Each year a variety of topics are put forward across the IRU for calibration. In 2019, Flinders put forward 25 topics, Charles Darwin 16, Griffith 5, James Cook 4, La Trobe 1, Murdoch 44, and Western Sydney 27. These numbers are growing, as topic and course coordinators as well as institutional quality managers start to see the benefit of (and regulatory need for) external benchmarking at the topic level.

For academic calibration to work it needs topics and calibrators. The IRU Academic Calibration Coordinators maintain a database of topics that are seeking calibrator nominations. To find out if there is one in your discipline and to put forward a calibrator nomination, contact Anna Smith, IRU Academic Calibration Coordinator.

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