Recapping the new Assessment Policy and changes to assessment

As most staff will be aware 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.

Several Learning and Teaching blog articles have been published throughout 2021 to outline the new policy and procedures and highlight necessary changes to be initiated by staff. Other articles and materials have also been developed to support staff to understand the new policy and adjust their assessments as appropriate.

This article provides a handy summary of the range of resources released throughout 2021.

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, repeated in June was updated and retitled Recapping the new assessment policy and changes to assessment. It 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 Assessment policy changes: So, what should I do with my assessments now? published in February then refreshed and retitled in July Rethinking assessment approaches to align with policy 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 (repeated August), 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.

In March a short piece on good practice in using your FLO site to support assessment, Assessing in FLO provided links to some relevant tip sheets on this topic was also published.

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

May saw the publication of Modes of assessment: Individual, peer and group assessments (repeated in October) which 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. Two other assessment related articles published in May were the announcement of the new Resubmission page and Preparing for grading: using the FLO Gradebook. The first provides insights about the content of the Resubmission webpage and actions required by Topic Coordinators. The second guides staff through using the FLO Gradebook.

In June Changes to FLO assignment extension tool are explained and in September information regarding Changes to Statement of Assessment Methods (SAMs) 2022 are outlined. Both articles explain the reasons behind required changes as well where to find further information and help.

All of the assessment related articles presented across the 2021 Learning and Teaching Blog are interconnected and supported by a host of other recently developed materials. A range of Good Practice Guides and Tip sheets have also been published to support staff in making changes to their assessments. In addition, a dedicated Assessment 2021 FLO site provides an opportunity to watch various Assessment Policy related videos including one on completing the new SAMs and other related information regarding the SAMs process for 2022. There is also Q and A forum available on the FLO site, with two others which have now closed, but can viewed.
Further work currently being undertaken comprises development of an Assessment website as a central source for all information on assessment, completion of the series of assessment related tip sheets as well as a self-paced module in FLO. These should be completed by mid-2022 and will be designed to provide further support staff as and when required.

Ann Luzeckyj, Senior Academic Developer (Teaching Specialist)


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