Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Under Review - With Editor 7 February 2019

Higher Education Examinations Procedure

Policy Code: LT1940


This procedure mandates operational activities and assigns responsibilities to support the implementation of the Federation University Australia’s Higher Education Assessment Policy.


This procedure applies to examination of all Federation University Australia undergraduate and coursework postgraduate courses and for those courses offered through collaborative provision (ie through partner providers). However it does not apply to examination of individual students in higher degrees by research which is the subject of Regulation 5.1 Higher Doctorates, The Degree of Philosophy, Professional Doctorates and Masters Degrees by Research.

All staff of the University must comply with the Higher Education Assessment Policy and this procedure whenever they are engaged in any aspect of the assessment process.

Legislative Context

University Statutes and Regulations
  • Statute 2.2 - Academic Board
  • Statute 5.1 - Academic Awards and Courses
  • Regulation 5.1 – The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Masters Degrees by Research and Professional Doctorates
  • Statute 5.3 – Assessment
  • Regulation 5.3 – Assessment
  • Statute 5.4 – Exclusion for Reasons of Unfitness


A complete list of definitions relevant to this procedure is contained within the Higher Education Assessment Policy.

A further list of definitions specifically relevant to this procedure is included below:

Term Definition
Alternative examination adjustments Special examination arrangements, including take-home examinations, under different conditions or at different times or locations, that are designed to accommodate the needs of students who are unable to undertake their regular scheduled examination or take-home examination for reasons as approved by Disability and Learning Access Unit (DLAU)
Breach An act or omission which is likely to have the effect of obtaining an advantage by unfair or unauthorised means
Closed book examination Students are not permitted to take into the examination room, any books, notes or paper, electronic devices, calculators or pencil cases
Deferred Examination An application for deferment of an examination can only be made in exceptional circumstances and a student may not normally apply to have an examination deferred more than once in a particular unit in a given teaching period. Refer to sub-section 8(3) of Statute 5.3 The Schedule Part 1.
Examination A formal, supervised written or oral examination
Examination commencement time The designated time in an examination when students are permitted to begin writing
Examination period The official examination period listed in the Course Description and published on the Academic Calendar
Examination room A room in which an examination is taking place or about to take place
Examination supervisor An invigilator tasked with conducting the examination under agreed procedures and specific instructions
Limited open book and/or materials examination Students may be authorised to take into the examination room, specific items such as approved calculators and/or notes
Other significant cause

Other issues outside of hardship/trauma, loss or bereavement, and medical reasons that significantly impacts on a student’s ability to prepare for, present to, undertake, and/or complete work or assessments including but not limited to:

  • Life threatening illness to significant other
  • Significant and unexpected carer duties
Open book examination Students are permitted to take into the examination room and use any material except a calculator, computer or any other electronic device, as authorised by the Course Coordinator
Reading time 10 minutes (or as otherwise authorised - refer Statute 5.3 The Schedule Part 1, Section 14) prior to the commencement of the examination which allows students to read the examination paper
Reasonable adjustments

Measures and adaptations put in place to facilitate student participation in Course and Program while ensuring that academic standards and inherent requirements of the Course are not compromised.

Reasonable adjustments as a result of Special Consideration applications are relevant for the period outlined in the Special Consideration application.

Reasonable adjustments as a result of a disability, and outlined in a Learning Access Plan are relevant for the duration of the Learning Access Plan. Students with a disability can re-negotiate, update or cancel adjustments and/or supports at any stage.

Serious health condition A health condition, including medical conditions, mental health conditions or disability that adversely impacts on a student’s capacity to successfully complete an assessment, progress in a program or results in repeated behaviour that adversely impacts on other students or staff
Special consideration - Deferred Examination Acknowledgement by the Dean or delegate that a student has experienced or encountered some form of disadvantage or impediment that has prevented them from undertaking or completing an examination during the timetabled examination period. The University will schedule the deferred examination in the timetabled deferred examination period.
Special consideration - General Acknowledgement by the Dean or delegate that a student has experienced or encountered some form of disadvantage or impediment that has prevented them from performing on their merits in an assessment task/s. In such circumstances, the particular disadvantage or impediment will be taken into account when assessing the students work. To enable the student to demonstrate their achievement of the course learning outcomes, they may be granted deferred assessment, supplementary examination, or extension of an assessment due date or other suitable accommodation deemed necessary. Such allowances may be made for one or more assessment tasks or courses within any teaching semester. Grounds for a student to submit an application for Special Consideration include illness, psychological condition, loss or bereavement, hardship/trauma, or other significant cause.
Supplementary assessment (examination context) A supplementary assessment is an extra examination that occurs after a previous examination has occurred. It is offered in particular circumstances where failure would significantly impede a student’s progress or completion of the course
Take-home assessment Conditions and instructions dictated according to the requirements of the course which enable the student to complete the assessment away from the University
Team Leader, Exam Scheduling Responsible for oversight of the gathering of requirements, scheduling, timetable publication and event management relating to exams
Venue Location in which examinations are scheduled


  • Academic Board is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure and will receive annual reports as part of the annual Program Performance Report from each Faculty
  • Chair, Learning and Teaching Committee (L&T) is responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by Academic Board
  • Executive Officer, Learning and Teaching Committee is responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this procedure as directed by the Chair, Learning and Teaching Committee (L&T)
  • Deans of faculties are responsible for oversight of the operational implementation of this procedure
  • The Heads of Schools are responsible to the Dean of the Faculty


Each of the mandatory procedures below, details the activity which must be conducted in accordance with the assessment principles referred to in the Higher Education Assessment Policy.

1. Examination rules

A. Conducting examinations Course Coordinator
  1. Examinations will be conducted in accordance with Statute 5.3 – The Schedule Part 1
  2. Students will be provided with examination criteria, including weighting, within the Course Description, together with relevant appeals information
B. Timetabling examinations

Team Leader, Exam Scheduling

Course Coordinator

  1. Compulsory central timetabling of all examinations scheduled within the examination period will occur in line with the University's approved examination standards and conditions
  2. Exams for Partner Providers on the trimester or Northern Hemisphere calendars are administered by CUP
  3. A timetable will be produced and published at least three weeks prior to the main examination periods
C. Booking examination rooms/venues

Team Leader, Exam Scheduling

  1. Ensure students complete examinations in a physical environment in which they can be reasonably expected to perform to the best of their abilities.
D. Ensuring student Availability Student
  1. Students must ensure they are available to attend examinations during the formal examination period outlined in the published Academic Calendar
E. Resulting Student Administration
  1. Final results for any course will not be officially notified to a student before completion of assessment in that course and its formal publication
  2. Students who owe fees to the University will not have their results published nor receive written statements of their academic results

2. Examination Appeals

A. Dealing with examination complaints are dealt with in a timely manner Dean or nominee
  1. In accordance with the Student Appeals Procedure, an appeal against a final grade must be submitted in writing and lodged within 10 working days of the publication of the final grade or result
  2. Following due consideration (within 30 days) the student will be provided with a written response to the appeal, including reasons for the decision
  3. The Faculty must notify Student Administration of any amended results following an appeal
  4. If the student is not satisfied with the decision, they can submit an appeal to the Appeals Committee in accordance with Regulation 2.2

3. Managing centrally organised examinations

A. Overall management Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Support & Services) or delegate
  1. Scheduling
  2. Conduct
  3. Supervision; and
  4. Administration
B. Determining arrangements for courses which include centrally organised examinations as part of the assessment Course Coordinator/ Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. Provide adequate notice of the examination requirements to Team Leader, Exam Scheduling, Student Support & Services
  2. Team Leader, Exam Scheduling will not schedule any exams outside of the prescribed exam period as defined on the Academic Calendar
  3. Ensure that examination information in the student management system is correct prior to the creation of the examination timetable
  4. Submit examination papers for printing by the due date
    • Financial penalties determined by the Academic Registrar will be incurred by Faculties for late submission or resubmission due to errors detected after printing
    • Students sit the exam papers given on the day of the examination as written -no clarifications or errata are to be issued on the day of the exam, thereby ensuring equity between examination venues, where possible
  5. An invigilator, at the prescribed 1:50 ratio,will be present at the primary examination room as directed by Heads of Schools to:
    • Assist the Supervisor in Charge to adhere to all examination processes and procedures
  6. Where possible, the Course Coordinator will be contactable by mobile phone for the duration of the examination
C. Scheduling of examinations Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. Team Leader, Exam Scheduling will schedule early in the examination period where possible, examinations for courses with high enrolment numbers and other complex criteria that may affect the marking process to ensure completion of results by the release date
  2. Other scheduling requests from Schools and CUP will be considered and accommodated by Team Leader, Exam Scheduling, at their discretion
  3. Duration of examinations will be as per the course description in whole hour increments only ie one, two or three hours
  4. To maximise efficiencies of the examination room/venue and exam slots, examinations will be of suitable lengths to restrict differing durations in the same examination room/venue at the same time, where reasonably possible
  5. Examinations may be scheduled on any day within the examination period
  6. Every effort will be made to minimise the number of:
    • Examination clashes for students
    • Examinations a student is required to sit in a 36-hour period
    • Back-to-back examinations for students
    • Instances of student overload ie three consecutively scheduled examination sessions (morning, afternoon and following morning)
D Providing for students from non-English speaking backgrounds

Student (NESB/Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander)


Team Leader, Exam Scheduling or delegate

  1. Obtain letter of authorisation from Head of School giving permission for the use of bilingual hard copy dictionary
  2. Present the letter of authorisation to the Faculty for recording in the university’s approved records management system (for the duration of study)
    • Note: the option for a bilingual dictionary may not apply to students studying a language unit if the bilingual dictionary is one of the languages being assessed
  3. Advise Examinations Office before each exam period of the students who have permission to use a bilingual dictionary
  4. Ensure only those students who have pre-recorded permission bring into the venue an unmarked hard copy bilingual dictionary – any annotated dictionaries will be removed and/or reported as a breach in accordance with Statute 5.3 The Schedule Part 1 Section 7
E. Supervising examinations Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. Only impartial and independently rostered examination staff will invigilate all formal examinations scheduled within the designated examination period
  2. An examination assistant staffing ratio is 1:50 in main venues plus one Supervisor In Charge
  3. In the event of an observed breach of examination rules/procedures, Supervisors will be obligated to follow the reporting procedure and notify the Head of School in writing (refer Statute 5.3)
F. Notifying students Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. Examinations timetabled by the Team Leader, Exam Scheduling will be communicated via:
    • Individual email to the student’s nominated email address
    • Online portal

  2. Examinations scheduled by CUP are emailed to Partners to distribute to students via appropriate means
G. Organising special sittings Course Coordinator
  1. Special sittings may be arranged to accommodate:
    • students who have a clash of examinations; or
    • three consecutive examinations in two days
  2. Course Coordinators will, under no circumstances, permit individual students to sit the same examination paper as the remainder of the cohort, at any other time or other venue unless the student is supported by Disability and Learning Access Unit (DLAU). However, Team Leader, Exam Scheduling may authorise individual students to sit exams at reasonable times within their own time zone.
H. Dealing with unexpected disruptions Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. In the event of an unforeseen disruption to examination conditions, every option will be pursued to minimise the impact of the disruption to ensure students are not disadvantaged, which may include:
  • Time extensions
  • Opportunity to re-sit with an alternative examination paper at another time if students are forced to leave the venue
  • Refer the University’s Emergency Evacuation Protocol for Examinations
  1. The University does not consider an event that has mass impact, eg a bomb threat, sufficient grounds for special consideration by an individual student

4. Managing non-centrally organised examinations

A. Arranging non-centrally organised examinations, including take-home assessments Faculties/CUP/Partners
  1. If any electronic/online examination papers are made available, their security must be ensured as well as the integrity of student answers - in the event of any system failure, students will not be penalised and alternative arrangements will be made, within the designated timeframe
  2. Students will be advised if take-home assessments are to be submitted for electronic anti-plagiarism verification and the processes involved and any penalties that may apply to non-compliance with the examination requirements
  3. Students will be required to submit examinations electronically accompanied by a completed declaration form, unless specific circumstances require otherwise

5. Special consideration/supplementary examinations

A. Considering alternative examination arrangements, including deferrals Disability and Learning Access Unit (DLAU)/Team Leader, Exam Scheduling
  1. Alternative examination arrangements apply to all timed assessments held under examination conditions, including end of semester and end of year examinations, supplementary and special examinations and practical examinations
  2. Consider the following points when setting alternative examination arrangements:
    • The student’s circumstances
    • The impact of the arrangement on the student's ability to achieve learning outcomes
    • The impact of the arrangements on the University, staff and other students
    • The costs and benefits of adjustments
    • Meeting the academic requirements of the course that are inherent in or essential to it
  3. Note: advice can be sought primarily from the Team Leader, Exam Scheduling, and/or Disability and Learning Access Unit (DLAU), Student Connect, the Associate Dean, Learning & Teaching and CLIPP to ensure a balance between the legislative requirements and academic standards
  4. A standard set of alternate examination adjustments will be made available to students across all campuses - refer Higher Education Special Consideration Procedure
  5. Students who are unwell on the day of their examination should not enter the examination room and attempt the examination; they are encouraged to apply for a deferred examination
  6. If the student is unable to finish the exam due to serious illness or other cause they must:
    • inform the exam invigilator who will note the time of exit and reason associated
    • collect and complete special consideration - deferred examination form
B. Seeking approval to grant alternative examination arrangements Designated approval authority
  1. Refer to the University’s Student Learning and Well Being Policy and Associated Procedures, where the circumstances are outside the student’s control. Examples include:
    • Semester’s work has been hampered by illness or other cause
    • Serious or disabling illness or other significant cause has prevented the student from preparing or presenting for all or part of assessment - refer Learning Access Plan
    • Adversely affected by illness or other cause during the performance of a component of assessment
  2. A written application must be submitted within three days after the submission of the component of assessment and supported by detailed Health Care Professional Certification
  3. The applicant will be notified of the decision in writing within five working days of the decision being made
  4. Students with special needs examination adjustments will be determined on a student and course basis by the Disability and Learning Access Unit (DLAU). DLAU will inform the Team Leader, Exam Scheduling of the necessary adjustments - refer to the Higher Education Special Consideration Procedure
C. Conducting supplementary/special consideration examination (not deferred examinations)

Team Leader, Exam Schedulingr/


  1. Supplementary examinations will be timetabled centrally, twice per year as per the Academic Calendar
  2. Supplementary examinations for Partners on the trimester or Northern Hemisphere are administered by CUP
  3. Team Leader, Exam Scheduling will notify eligible students of their examination date/s by email at least one week prior to the examination period
  4. Where permission to undertake supplementary examination has been granted to a student/s, design a supplementary examination which is equivalent, but not identical, to the initial examination
  5. Students who are awarded supplementary/special considerationexaminations and choose to sit the examination/s must ensure they are available to attend at the time/s scheduled
  6. Students who are eligible may choose not to sit in which case they will receive the mark awarded for the original examination
  7. Team Leader, Exam Scheduling must be notified of any student not intending to sit their supplementary examination, in order to minimise costs incurred

6. Ensuring security of completed examination papers

A. Collecting and recording of submitted examination/s Course Coordinator/Team Leader, Exam Scheduling/nominee
  1. Arrange for the collection and recording of examination/s submitted by students
B. Ensuring security of submitted examination/s Academic staff/Partners
  1. Following University policy, securely store examination/s while they are being assessed and moderated - this process should be managed virtually, wherever possible, in accordance with the University's approved records management system
C. Protecting confidentiality of students

Course Coordinator/


  1. If the need arises for the Course Coordinator to discuss examination/s with other staff, the discussion does not identify the author either directly or indirectly
D. Retaining/disposing of students' examination/s Academic staff/Partners
  1. Retain or dispose of examination/s in accordance with the University's approved records management system

7. Ensuring examination/s are appropriately marked and graded

A. Marking and grading examination/s is based on criterion referencing


marking examination/s

  1. Identify any issues with the marking guide/rubric/expectations to assist in developing consistent responses/grades
  2. Assess student performance against attainment of intended learning outcomes or graded against the level of attainment of intended learning outcomes using explicit, pre-specified, and/or negotiated criteria (rather than assessed relative to the performance of other students in a cohort)
  3. For Moderation - refer to Higher Education Assessment Procedure
B. Accessing exam scripts following publication Academic Staff
  1. Ensure viewing of the graded exam scripts of the examination results by students is conducted in a supervised environment. Scripts must not be removed from the room.
C. Requesting second marking

Course Coordinator/


  1. A student can request a second marking for an examination. The request should be considered when the grade for the examination differs substantially from the grades received for other assessment tasks submitted - refer Schedule 5.3 Assessment
D. Granting of special consideration Dean of Faculty or nominee
  1. When a student is unable to complete an examination through a serious health condition, other medical reasons, loss or bereavement or other significant cause, the student is encouraged to apply for Deferred or Supplementary assessment - refer Higher Education Special Consideration Procedure
E. Assessing supplementary examination

Course Coordinator/


  1. Assess the supplementary examination/s – only the grades of pass and marginal fail (P and MF) will be awarded for the course involved
  2. Report supplementary examination results in a timely manner to avoid disadvantage to the student
F. Recording examination results

Student Administration/


  1. Results will be recorded in the University's approved records management system

8. Ensuring quality of examination (Quality Improvement)

A. Benchmarking of examination/s Dean of Faculty or nominee
  1. Both internal and external benchmarking are considered critical components of the overall assessment cycle and as such should be well documented to capture a rigorous, evidence-based practice across the University to demonstrate quality processes that meet audit requirements
  2. Determine which examination/s to benchmark
  3. Identify benchmarking partners
  4. Determine types and levels of benchmarking
  5. Prepare benchmarking documents and templates including the purpose, scope, performance indicators, performance measures and performance data
  6. Design benchmarking process
  7. Implement benchmarking process
  8. Review results
  9. Communicate results and recommendations
  10. Implement improvement strategies
B. Undergoing external/internal benchmarking process Dean of Faculty or nominee
  1. Subject samples of examination/s and decisions to undergo an external benchmarking process to ensure a quality consistent with sector standards and procedures
  2. Document the results within the University's approved records management program 
  3. Report the results of benchmarking to the Faculty Board
  4. Internal benchmarking against other relevant courses offered by Federation University Australia should also be undertaken
  5. Document the results within the University's approved records management program
  6. Report the results of benchmarking to the Faculty Board
C. Ensuring examination integrity Course Coordinator
  1. Exam integrity must be applied to all standard, partner, deferred and supplentary examinations.
  2. Integrity of examinations must be maintained by ensuring all newly developed examinations are sufficienty dissimilar to past examinations, thus avoiding predictability of content.
    • No examinations are to be wholly recycled
    • significant variation (ie no more than 33% overlap with any previous exam given over the past 2 years)
  3. The same examination may be used at different sites at the same time


The Higher Education Examinations Procedure will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure.
  • Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Faculty meetings
  • Academic Induction Program
  • Partner communications
  • Examinations newsletter


The Higher Education Examinations Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

Information Sessions; and/or

Training Sessions

Partner communications

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Course Description Faculty Administrative Office Faculty Administrative Officer While the Course is continued to be offered
Course Outline


Administrative Office

Faculty Administrative Officer While the Course is continued to be offered
Course Handbook Entry Faculty Administrative Office Faculty Administrative Officer While the Course is continued to be offered
Student Course Feedback Faculty and Partner Administration Office

Course Coordinator


Destoy 2 years from date of last action
Amendment to Result Form Faculty Administrative Office Business Manager of the Faculty/Centre teaching the course Permanent
Examination Benchmarking/Validation schedule University's approved records management system Business Manager of the Faculty/Centre teaching the course Destroy 3 years from date of last action
Final Examination Results

University's approved student management system

Faculty Administrative Office if hard copy

Business Manager of the Faculty teaching the course Permanent
Record of Examination

University's approved records management system

Faculty Administrative Office if hard copy

Business Manager of the Faculty teaching the course/Partner Permanent
Re-issue of Statement of Results Faculty Administrative Office Business Manager of the Faculty teaching the course 1 year from date application made
Student Examination/s Faculty Administrative Office Business Manager of the Faculty teaching the course/Partner Destroy 18 months after administrative use has concluded
Validation of Examination Schedule & Record Faculty Administrative Office Business Manager of the Faculty teaching the course Destroy 3 years from date of last action
All records ALL ALL All records must be destroyed as outlined in the Records Management Procedure