Recapping the new Assessment Policy and changes to assessment

The new Assessment Policy came into effect on 1 January 2021, following extensive consultation with both staff and students throughout 2020. The policy package includes a number of supporting documents: Grading Scheme; Assessment Variation Procedures; Assessment Practice Procedures, with the last of these coming into effect 1 January 2022 to allow staff time to prepare for necessary changes in their assessments. An interim ‘Schedule A – Assessment Practices’, linked to the Assessment Policy, is in use until the Assessment Practice Procedures come into effect. Several Learning and Teaching blog articles have been published which outline the new policy and procedures and highlight necessary changes to be initiated by staff. Other materials have also been developed to support staff in making these changes. This article summarises these resources.

The January blog included an article titled New Assessment Policy came into effect on 1 January 2021! which highlights key positions and changes. The article outlines ways the policy has been refreshed to reaffirm the focus on student support and success which underpin the University’s focus as a student-centred institution. Furthermore, the article lists a range of important changes included across these documents pertaining to examination, attendance, number of assessment activities, moderation, extensions and resubmissions, etc.

The article published in February titled Assessment policy changes: So, what should I do with my assessments now? explains how to assess differently in order to align with the new policy and procedures, and ensure assessment activities are better focused on student success. This includes advice on how you can ensure your assessments are compliant with the following key points of the policy:

  • exams are only included where they are deemed the most appropriate method of assessment (including where required for accreditation or professional registration)
  • only including student attendance where safe practice requirements, professional competencies, accreditation or professional registration deem it necessary so that assessments provide students with opportunities to meet the topic learning outcomes
  • minimizing the number of assessments and ensuring larger assessments which make up a major percentage of the topic final grade are carefully scaffolded so students can keep track of their learning and progression
  • moderation occurs across three stages of the assessment cycle.

The March article, Moderation in Assessment, provides guidance in relation to moderation requirements and links to a range of resources which have been developed to support staff in their implementation of this important activity. The moderation process assures the soundness of assessment by supporting its validity and reliability.

Assessment variations: what are some of my options? was published in April. This article outlines ways of achieving consistency in relation to late submissions, resubmissions and supplementary assessments.

The last of the series published in May, Modes of assessment: Individual, peer and group assessments, discusses these modes in relation to good assessment design practice and various important considerations, such as reliability, validity, educational impact, cost effectiveness and efficiency, as well as acceptability to both staff and students.

These articles are interconnected and supported by a host of other recently developed materials. A video in which the Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Deborah West, outlines changes to the Assessment policy for 2021 and discusses the changes with the Interim PVC(LTI), Professor Chris Brebner, has been added to a dedicated Assessment 2021 FLO site which also provides an opportunity for viewers to ask questions.

A range of Good Practice Guides and Tip sheets have also been published to support staff in making changes to their assessments. Furthermore, a resubmission webpage has been developed (this information was advertised to staff and students in May). Further work currently being undertaken includes supporting changes in SAMs, minor changes in FLO, the development of a range of moderation templates as well as a self-paced online assessment module in FLO to allow staff to access supporting materials as and when required.

Dr Ann Luzeckyj, Senior Academic Developer – CILT
A/Professor Eric Bouvet, Dean (Education) – CHASS

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