Assessment variations: what are some of my options?

This article continues a repeat of our series on the Assessment Policy changes which came into effect on 1 January 2021. Here we look at some of the different Assessment Variation Procedures, particularly in achieving consistency around:

  • late submissions
  • re-submissions
  • supplementary assessments.

The full policy changes (including Schedule A) are available in the Policy Library.

The Assessment Policy was refreshed with a renewed focus on student success and is underpinned by the following principles (which closely align to those set out in the Good Practice Guide – Assessment principles):

  1. Assessment is integral to learning and encourages, guides and supports learning
  2. Assessment is integral to topic and course design and aligned to appropriate academic and pedagogical standards
  3. Assessment is communicated effectively
  4. Assessment provides valid and reliable evidence of student learning achievements
  5. Assessment is fair and equitable
  6. Assessment practices accord with the University’s academic standards
  7. Approaches to assessment are continuously reviewed with a view to improvement.

Late submission
Procedures for late submissions have been confusing for students in the past with sometimes different procedures across topics, courses and Colleges. The new Assessment Variation Procedures look to achieve consistency for students and state:

5a) Where an assessment activity is not submitted by the due date and time, and an extension is not granted, late submission is permitted, subject to the penalties specified in the topic assessment information, e.g., handbook, which must be in accordance with Schedule A, s.2. of the Assessment Policy.

5 b) Late submission is not permitted more than two weeks after the original due date, or where it is impracticable in the circumstances.  

What this means in practice is that, in general, consequences for late submission are consistent across a course although there may be exceptions to this as determined by topic learning outcomes. However, the College Dean (Education) is responsible for determining the consequences for late submissions so this decision rests with them, NOT only with the Topic Coordinator. Additionally, where there is a percentage deducted for late submission, the amount for this is determined at not less than 1% and not more than 5% per 24-hour period (or part thereof).

Some examples of assessment resubmission that might be considered impracticable include:

  • WIL placement assessment activities
  • assessment involving a real person or simulation (such as oral assessment based on a client assessment in a healthcare setting)
  • thesis as part of an honours program or coursework Masters degree.

Aside from consistent processes, we can support students with managing late submissions prior to assessment by:

  • communicating and ensuring they are clearly briefed on what they need to do and what is expected of them in relation to the assessment
  • providing them with the purpose, requirements, standards and criteria of assessment via the Statement of Assessment Methods(SAM)
  • providing well-constructed rubrics alongside the assessment tasks
  • providing a timeline or prompts to students about where they should be up to with progress on assignments. This can be especially helpful for first year students or students new to a discipline or content/ practice area who may not realise how much time is needed for assignments
  • providing links to academic support from Student Learning Support Serviceas relevant for the task
  • clarifying how and why to apply for extensions, and by when, to avoid unnecessary late submissions, where an extension might have otherwise been granted.

Resubmissions of failed assessments are allowed in some circumstances and this is determined by the Topic Coordinator. In summary, it is allowed when:

  • the assessment value is 20% or higher
  • the type and condition of the assessment activity make it feasible
  • the student/s have made a meaningful attempt on the first submission
  • it is submitted on time (or within the granted extension period)
  • no prior feedback has been received (e.g. on a draft or a previous scaffolded assessment)
  • the answers have not been provided.

Some assessments may not easily lend themselves to resubmission (e.g. vivas, laboratory experiments, WIL assessments) and as such this should be made clear to the students beforehand. Group assessments can be resubmitted if the above criteria are met and this can be by part or all of the group. However, only those students contributing to the resubmission will be given a revised grade.

Other important points include that:

  • students have a responsibility to notify the Topic Coordinator of their intent to resubmit within 48 hours of receiving the marked original submission
  • the due date for resubmission will be one week after the return of the original submission (the Topic Coordinator can vary this at their discretion)
  • the maximum grade obtainable for a resubmitted assessment activity is a Pass
  • an extension for resubmitting assessment activities will only be granted in accordance with Procedure 4.1. Supporting information must be provided.

Supplementary assessment
Supplementary assessment provides an opportunity for a student who has not achieved a passing grade for a topic to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes of the topic by completing an additional assessment activity.

To be eligible for a supplementary assessment, the Topic Coordinator must determine that it is appropriate within the context of the topic to offer a supplementary assessment. The student must then have:

  • completed all required assessment activities for the topic
  • used all opportunities for resubmission
  • passed all non-graded hurdle requirements that apply to the topic.

The supplementary assessment will be directed at those learning outcomes not yet achieved by the students. Where there are unforeseen or exceptional circumstances, the student may apply to the Dean (Education) for special consideration to undertake a supplementary assessment.

For more details, the full policy changes are available in the Policy Library. There is also a range of Good Practice Guides available, including the Good Practice Guide – Assessment principles. The Student Learning Support Service can also help with embedding resources into assessments. 


Flinders University 2021, Assessment Policy, viewed 23 March 2021 <>

Flinders University 2021, Assessment Variation Procedures, viewed 23 March 2021 <>

Written by Cassandra Hood, Academic Developer – CILT
and Professor Chris Brebner, Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation)

Posted in

Leave a Reply