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Coursework Assessments Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

Appendix A: Results and grades


1. Purpose

1.1 The Coursework Assessment Policy (the Policy) articulates the principles and expectations for the assessment of coursework subjects at UTS.

2. Scope

2.1 This Policy applies to the assessment of all coursework subjects at UTS and to all staff and students, who need to be aware of the Coursework Assessment Policy and Procedures and the Student Rules related to assessment, academic misconduct and appeals processes.

2.2 This Policy does not apply to the thesis component of graduate research degree programs.

2.3 UTS recognises that the forms of assessment used throughout UTS are diverse and vary according to academic discipline, however all must comply with this Policy.

3. Principles

3.1 Assessment must promote learning and prepare students for future learning and practice.

3.2 Assessment must include authentic assessments (see definitions) and allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills on meaningful, practice-oriented tasks.

3.3 Assessments must be fair and equitable (providing reasonable opportunities for all students to demonstrate their learning) with requirements clearly communicated in the subject outline and any accompanying materials.

3.4 Students’ work must be assessed against clearly stated and consistently applied criteria that are aligned with the task and the intended learning outcomes of the subject.

3.5 Students must be provided with opportunities for feedback on their assessed work in a timely manner to facilitate understanding and improvement; and feedback must be consistent with the learning outcomes.

3.6 Assessments must promote academic integrity and discourage plagiarism and dishonesty.

3.7 Assessment must be designed across the ‘whole of the course of study’ in order to:

  • enable students to develop and demonstrate their achievement of the desired graduate attributes and intended learning outcomes for the course as a whole
  • assess learning outcomes to a standard appropriate for the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level of the course and any relevant professional standards
  • ensure students have opportunities to experience different types of assessment
  • support students’ transition to study, their progression through their studies and their transition to employment or further studies
  • be consistent with the UTS Model of Learning in ways that are relevant to the professional/disciplinary domains of the course
  • include assessment experiences that enable students to prepare for their intended future contexts, and develop their capacities for professional and personal judgement and lifelong learning.

3.8 Subject assessment patterns must involve reasonable workloads for both students and staff, consistent with:

  • the credit points allocated to the subject
  • the relative weightings of tasks reflective of the expected workloads, and
  • the number, type and timing of assessment tasks designed to allow reasonable time for task completion, marking and feedback.

3.9 Assessment process and tasks must be kept private and confidential. Staff must not divulge any information related to an individual student’s assessment to unauthorised persons.

3.10 The University will provide reasonable learning and assessment arrangements in line with Rule 8.2, to enable students to demonstrate their achievement of the learning objectives of the subjects in which they are enrolled.

4. Policy statements

4.1 This Policy is drafted to support section 8, Student Rules (assessment of coursework subjects) and is implemented via procedures approved by the Provost and implemented by the Student Administration Unit (SAU) from time to time.

Assessment strategy at UTS

4.2 Assessment must focus on students’ capacity to develop and apply their knowledge and skills on meaningful, practice-oriented assessment tasks. The assessment pattern in a subject should include at least one substantial authentic task or component. Where this is not appropriate, a substantial task or component must be performance-based. Open-book rather than closed-book examinations should be used wherever these are appropriate.

Assessment design and approval

4.3 Subject assessment patterns are approved, reviewed and changed in line with the Subject Descriptions and Outlines Policy, with further details of assessment pattern design outlined in the Coursework Assessment Procedures.

4.4 An assessor must be nominated for each subject by the relevant Responsible Academic Officer (RAO) and approved in accordance with faculty board procedures, in line with the Subject Descriptions and Outlines Policy. Assessors must be full-time or fractional members of academic staff.

4.5 Subject coordinators and assessors are usually appointed at the same time. Assessors are expected to work with subject coordinators, acting as peer reviewers to review and improve the appropriateness of assessment tasks.

4.6 Any exceptions to normal assessment requirements must be discussed with the assessor and approved through the faculty subject approvals process. Disputes should be managed by the RAO.

Marking, feedback, grades and results

4.7 The total mark or grade for each assessment task and final subject results are determined as described in the subject outline and any supporting documentation provided by the faculty.

4.8 Faculties are responsible for developing and implementing marking procedures for subjects they administer in a manner consistent with the principles and practice outlined in the Student Rules, this Policy and its Procedures. This responsibility may be assigned to the subject coordinators and/or RAOs at the discretion of faculty boards.

4.9 Marking must only be undertaken by appropriately qualified and employed staff approved by the subject coordinator and/or assessor.

4.10 Markers must be provided with adequate information regarding what is to be marked, marking procedures and the return date of assessed work.

4.11 Marking must be consistent with the specified criteria and standards for the task.

4.12 Marking procedures must ensure that criteria and standards are applied in similar ways across different markers.

4.13 Students should receive timely feedback on each assessment task, prior to the submission of the next summative task. Some opportunities for feedback on learning must be provided prior to the relevant census date for the subject.

4.14 Grades are based on a student’s level of performance in achieving stated learning objectives and must never be norm-referenced. UTS assessments never apply negative marking techniques.

4.15 Grades are awarded so that UTS can provide a statement for students and the outside community that indicates a student’s achievement of the learning objectives in subjects and intended learning outcomes for a course.

4.16 UTS results and grades are outlined in appendix A of this policy.

4.17 Faculty boards have authority to determine the appropriate grading type (as outlined in CASS) and set of grades for each subject.

4.18 The subject outline must include information about the approved form in which subject assessment results will be provided to students.

Result ratification

4.19 The Provost will approve procedures for the approval of:

  • the final results of students in each subject
  • the release and publication of student results by the Director, SAU, as outlined in Rule 8.4 and Delegation 4.7.1.

Assessment arrangements and extensions

4.20 Faculties should have in place fair and consistent processes for requesting and granting assessment extensions and fair and consistent penalties for late submissions in the absence of an approved extension.

4.21 Staff and students must comply with learning and assessment arrangements outlined in Rule 8.2.

4.22 The University will make all reasonable arrangements to enable students to demonstrate learning outcomes in an equitable manner, as prescribed in Rule 8.2. Progression, sanctions and misconduct

Progression, sanctions and misconduct

4.23 Section 10, Student Rules provides for the University’s management of academic progression and the management of repeated failures.

4.24 Students who fail a subject more than once should refer to these Rules (section 10) and seek advice from an academic advisor. A list of academic advisers is published on the UTS website.

4.25 Procedures for managing subject assessment sanctions are approved by the Provost and published on the UTS website.

4.26 Misconduct is defined in Rule 16.2; misconduct in assessments is addressed in Rule 8.8. Student misconduct during examinations (centrally conducted and faculty-based) is managed under Rule 9.6.

4.27 Where the allegation is not a first offence and/or of a serious nature, the University’s procedures for misconduct will be applied (Rule 16, Schedule 3 and Schedule 4).

4.28 Vivas or other invigilated tasks may be used to verify student achievement of learning outcomes.

Assessments records and privacy

4.29 Faculties are required to keep assessment-related records (including but not limited to assessment tasks, marks, grades and final results) for the required minimum retention period (Rule 8.4.1) or in keeping with external accreditation requirements.

4.30 Assessment records, including marked exam scripts and uncollected assignments, must be stored securely on the University’s premises with access only by authorised staff, and must not be stored in any other area outside the University and its control.

4.31 Compliance requirements for record keeping are set out in the Records Management Vice-Chancellor’s Directive. If a member of staff or a student suspects a serious misuse of assessment records or maladministration, it must be reported in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy.

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owners

  • The Provost is responsible for enforcement and compliance of this Policy, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed. The Provost is also responsible for approval of any associated university-level procedures.
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) is responsible for the educational strategies that underpin this Policy.

5.2 Policy contacts

  • The Director, Student Administration Unit has central responsibility for the implementation of coursework assessments.
  • Responsible Academic Officers, subject coordinators and appointed assessors are responsible for the implementation of this Policy within the faculties.
  • The Director, Institute of Media and Learning is responsible for the implementation of the University’s educational strategies that underpin this Policy.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this Policy. These are presented in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Assessment pattern means the assessment types and weightings in a subject and their relation to learning outcomes (at subject and course level). These are approved at faculty level in accordance with the Subject Descriptions and Outlines Policy.

Assessment requirements mean the combination of assessment tasks, the timing of assessment tasks, the outputs to be submitted for assessment, and the conditions for assessment that must be undertaken to ensure that the learning objectives and requirements of a subject have been met.

Assessment tasks refer to the various modes of assessment used to assess a subject. They include but are not limited to student presentations, literature reviews, laboratory reports, essays, creative works, group assessment, peer assessment, self-assessment, computer-based assessment, oral examinations, class quizzes, reflections, experiential activities, simulations, clinical experiences, practical exercises, performances, folio presentations and class participation, examinations.

Authentic assessments focus on students developing and applying knowledge and skills through meaningful, practice-oriented assessment tasks. Authentic assessment supports students to develop graduate attributes, apply theory to practice and engage with problems similar to those they will encounter in the workplace. Authenticity levels are judged on the extent to which the attributes students use, their activities and the context reflect work and/or life practices outside the course.

Criterion-referenced assessment means assessment tasks where a student’s work is assessed against stated criteria, and marks or grades are awarded according to the level of achievement of these criteria. UTS only engages in criterion-referenced assessment.

Criterion-referenced assessment differs from norm-referenced assessment in which grades are determined in relation to other students’ performance and the grade distribution is managed in such a way that only a certain percentage of students are able to attain each grade. Assessment at UTS is never norm-referenced.

Feedback means information about aspects of a student’s learning used to guide or improve their understanding, performance or achievements. Feedback can be gained informally or formally, from formative activities as well as summative assessment tasks. It can be gained in multiple ways, including but not limited to group discussions in class or online, automated online responses, and self, peer or teacher reviews of work using rubrics, checklists or comments. It includes information from self, peers, teachers, other people, online and other sources.

Marking means the process of assigning an assessment score or grade to a piece of work produced, performed or submitted by a student according to information provided in the subject outline, using academic judgement.

Open-book examination means an assessment task in which students are permitted to use any printed materials (including notes and textbooks) and to annotate, tag or otherwise organise them for easy access. Electronic devices or online access are permitted only when specified in the subject outline and on the examination cover sheet or equivalent. Library materials are only permitted where they can be made available to all students undertaking the examination, at the examination time.

Approval information

Policy contact Director, Institute of Media and Learning
Director, Student Administration Unit
(see section 5.2 of this Policy for details)
Approval authority Academic Board
Review year 2021
File number UR17/3558
Superseded documents Policy for the Assessment of Coursework Subjects (file UR09/797)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Academic Board (AB/17-3/52) 9 August 2017 1 January 2018 New policy.

PDF version

Coursework Assessments Policy (PDF)

References

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Credit Points for UTS Coursework Awards Policy

Delegations: Delegation 4.7.1

Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy

Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cwlth)

Records Management Vice-Chancellor’s Directive

Responsibilities of Responsible Academic Officers

Results website

Student Rules

Subject Descriptions and Outlines Policy

UTS Model of Learning

Appendix A: Results and grades

Grade Mark Range Grade Point Average [1] Score Descriptor
High Distinction 85–100 4 Work of outstanding quality on all objectives of the subject, which may be demonstrated by means of criticism, logical argument, interpretation of materials or use of methodology. This grade may also be given to recognise particular originality or creativity.
Distinction 75–84 3.5 Work of superior quality on all objectives, demonstrating a sound grasp of content, together with efficient organisation and selectivity.
Credit 65–74 2.5 Work of good quality showing more than satisfactory achievement on all objectives, or work of superior quality on most of the objectives.
Pass 50–64 1.5 Work showing a satisfactory achievement on the overall objectives of the subject.
Pass — Not Graded N/A [2] Work showing a satisfactory achievement on the overall objectives of the subject.
Satisfactory N/A Awarded for projects or theses.
Fail (X) 0.5 Unsatisfactory performance in a compulsory component of the subject. A ‘Fail (X)’ grade may be awarded only where approved by the relevant faculty board, on the basis that the compulsory component is essential for meeting the objectives of the subject. Faculty boards need to review the subject assessment pattern if students with a Fail (X) grade receive a final mark of more than 50 per cent.
Fail 0–49 0.5 Unsatisfactory performance in one or more objectives of the subject as contained within the assessment items.
Other notations
Industrial experience Professional experience/industrial training. A number may appear next to this grade to indicate the level of industrial experience.
Withdrawn Granted withdrawal from a subject without academic fail after the prescribed date.
Withdrawn Fail Withdrawn after the prescribed date.
Administrative notations — results not finalised
E Grade not submitted.

This result is allocated by the student administration system when a result has not been submitted by a subject coordinator. Students who receive an ‘E’ result must immediately contact the subject coordinator or, where unavailable, the relevant faculty academic adviser, and take any actions necessary to complete subject requirements, otherwise the result will be changed to ‘0 Fail’ after the prescribed period.

Q Result pending the completion of a project, clinical practicum or field excursion where the student has not completed assessment task(s) by the end of the teaching period.

‘Q’ results must be finalised before the result ratification deadline for the following teaching period, otherwise the result will be changed to ‘0 Fail’.

T 45–49 Formal supplementary examination to be completed within a designated examination period before a grade can be awarded.

A supplementary assessment may be awarded on the recommendation of the Responsible Academic Officer (RAO) or subject coordinator; normally in the following cases:

  • students with borderline results (45–49 per cent or equivalent marginal fail in a subject where marks are not awarded), or
  • a student in their final teaching period under Rule 8.5.
W Result withheld.

The RAO or subject coordinator may determine that supplementary assessments are required, or that alternative examiners and/or alternative assessments are required because of misadventure.

Students who receive a ‘W’ result must immediately contact the subject coordinator to ensure that they understand what is required and take any actions necessary to complete subject requirements otherwise the mark will be unchanged (where a mark has been submitted) or recorded as a ‘0 Fail’ (otherwise) after the prescribed period.

  1. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is an internationally recognised measure of a student’s academic achievement in a course. The Grade Point Average is the average of all grades achieved by a student in a course of study weighted by the credit point value of each subject approved by Academic Board. See notes on results and grades
  2. Not applicable.

Notes on results and grades

The following information is supplementary to, and should be read in conjunction with, the results and grades table above and the statements of this Policy and the Procedures.

Subjects graded ‘pass/fail’ only

Subjects graded pass/fail only are indicated as ‘Pass – Not Graded’ or ‘Fail’ on the official academic record and are not allocated a grade. Pass/fail may be awarded only in subjects approved by the relevant faculty board in accordance with the criteria for ungraded subjects approved by Academic Board (resolution AB/04/77, meeting 04/6 (01/12/04)), as follows:

  1. professional practice or similar subjects based on workplace, community or other experience outside the University
  2. subjects which are components of ungraded postgraduate research degree programs, and are designed to prepare students for research components assessed on a pass/fail or equivalent basis
  3. subjects which are designed to enable access, development and/or support for a particular equity target group, where grading would act as a deterrent to learning.

Faculty boards may request Academic Board to consider approval of subjects as ungraded which do not meet the approved criteria, and such requests must be justified on pedagogic grounds.

Withdrawn

Requests for withdrawal from a subject after the teaching period census date should be lodged with the Director, Student Administration Unit (SAU) in accordance with Rule 7.5.6. Although the student will not have an academic fail, they may incur financial liability for the subject (unless they have documentary evidence that meets the strict special circumstances requirements defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cwlth)). The status on their academic record for that subject will be ‘Withdrawn’.

Withdrawn Fail

‘Withdrawn Fail’ applies where approval for withdrawal without academic fail has not been granted by the Director, SAU in accordance with Rule 7.5.6. The student incurs a financial liability for the subject and the status on the academic record for that subject will be ‘Withdrawn Fail’.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Academic Board (at meeting 07/4 (03/10/07), resolution AB/07/61.7) approved the introduction of a four-point Grade Point Average.

The GPA is a progressive measure of academic achievement over the duration of enrolment in a course. It provides an overall view of a student’s performance in a course and is an internationally recognised measure of student performance. The GPA is included on the UTS academic transcript. It only applies to coursework awards commenced from the 2003 Autumn teaching period.

Further information about the GPA is available on the results website managed by SAU.

Subjects included in GPA calculation

Grades for all enrolled subjects within a course are included in the GPA calculation, including fail results, except where the grade type is ungraded. Subject exemptions or any form of recognition of prior learning are not included in the calculation.

GPA calculation

The GPA is calculated using a formula based on two dimensions: a grade point for each subject grade and subject credit points. All GPA values are between the range of 0.00 and 4.00.

The GPA formula is:

GPA = [(Sub1 GP x CP) + (Sub2 GP x CP) + . . (SubN GP x CP)] / (Total CP enrolled)

‘Sub GP’ is the subject’s grade point value and ‘CP’ is credit points.

Subject grade point (GP)

The grade point schema, per subject grade, used for GPA calculations is:

High Distinction – 4.0
Distinction – 3.5
Credit – 2.5
Pass – 1.5
Fail – 0.5

Ungraded subjects

Pass or Fail are not included in calculation of the GPA.