Assessment

Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy

Policy Code: LT1413

Purpose

This policy supports and elaborates the expectations of the University’s Learning and Teaching Policy, and in particular, the educative principles that:

  • Learning activities and assessment are clearly aligned with stated learning.
  • Assessment procedures and practices are valid, fair, flexible, feasible, culturally appropriate and incorporate clearly defined assessment criteria.

Moderation of assessment is the process by which the University satisfies itself that these principles are being observed. It addresses the interests of students, staff, the University’s partners and its external stakeholders. Moderation seeks to assure all stakeholders that:

  • Good practice in assessment is being applied consistently across the institution and its programs.
  • Student performance is being properly, fairly and consistently judged across all students undertaking the same course of study, and
  • Standards expected of, and achieved by, students are appropriate, reliable and comparable to good practice at the University and nationally.

Scope

This policy applies to all undergraduate and coursework postgraduate courses and, in particular, those units offered through collaborative provision (i.e. through third party providers).

The policy sets a framework of minimum requirements for moderation within which Schools will devise procedural guidelines for moderation.

External examination of the performance of individual students in higher degrees by research is the subject of Regulation 5.1 The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Masters Degrees by Research and Professional Doctorates.

Definitions

Moderation of Assessment: Moderation is a quality assurance process by which an individual or group not involved in setting or marking an assessment task confirms that assessment is continuously conducted with accuracy, consistency and fairness. Moderation contributes to the continuous improvement of assessment practices and to sharing good practice among colleagues.
Moderation: Is a moderation process undertaken by a member of the University’s academic staff who is not directly responsible for setting or marking assessment tasks in that course.
Pre-Assessment Moderation: Pre-assessment moderation validates the appropriateness, fairness, clarity, accuracy and standard of assessment tasks and materials before they are used for assessment.
Post-Assessment Moderation: Post-assessment moderation checks marking by moderating a designated sample of marked student work to ensure that markers are making consistent and accurate assessment decisions, in accordance with published assessment criteria.
Moderator: A person, apart from the person who has set or marked the assessment task, who is responsible for ensuring the quality of setting and marking of student assessment.
Course Moderators: An individual or group of individuals appointed to conduct pre- and/or post-assessment moderation of a course.
Assessment Task: Specific, discrete learning activities or exercises designed to obtain evidence about students’ achievement of the published learning outcomes of a course. Examples of assessment tasks include an essay, a final examination, a presentation, performance or exhibition.
Published Learning Outcomes: The intended Course Objectives, presented as observable learning outcomes, and provided in writing to students in the Course Description prior to the start of teaching. These learning outcomes serve as a reference point for the pre-assessment moderation of assessment tasks.
Published Assessment Criteria: The criteria against which students’ performance in the course will be judged, made available in writing to students in the Course Description. The intent is to provide students with a clear and explicit understanding of the standards they are expected to achieve relative to the marks awarded. The assessment criteria provide a common reference point on which academic judgement can be based, thus promoting consistency in marking.
School Moderation Guidelines: Within the framework established by the University’s Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy, Schools are expected to produce a set of guidelines setting out local expectations and processes for moderation. Generic topics to be covered in School guidelines are specified in the University’s Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy and elaborated in section 7 of this document, while generic guidelines for the annual moderation cycle are listed in section 4, below.

Policy Statement

This policy sets minimum threshold requirements for pre- and post-assessment moderation. It ensures that assessment tasks are well designed and applied consistently across the University and its programs. It supports assessment practices in which student performance is properly, fairly, reliably and consistently judged across all students undertaking the same assessment task.

Pre-assessment Moderation in Undergraduate and Coursework Postgraduate Courses

Designated assessment tasks in all undergraduate and coursework postgraduate courses will be subject to pre-assessment moderation conducted by a moderator, to ensure:

  • That they are appropriately aligned to the published learning outcomes and assessment requirements of the course.
  • That assessments are valid, fair, flexible and feasible.
  • That their content and instructions are clearly, comprehensibly and accurately presented, and
  • That the academic challenge they present the student is consistent with the level of the course.

Post-assessment Moderation in Undergraduate and Coursework Postgraduate Courses

Post-assessment moderation will be undertaken every teaching period for all courses offered collaboratively (e.g. through third party providers). This will involve moderating student performance in summative and in designated continuous assessment tasks as set by the School.

Moderation in Taught Courses at Honours Level

The taught courses of all Honours programs will be subject to pre-assessment moderation by moderators in order to:

  • Ensure that they are of a quality consistent with sector standards, and
  • Provide a benchmark standard for courses in the ordinary degree.

All assessment tasks which contribute to the final result in taught Honours courses will be moderated prior to being used to assess students.

The marking of all assessment tasks in taught courses completed in the first half of the calendar year, which potentially contribute to the class of Honours to be awarded, will be subject to post-assessment moderation - i.e. a 100% sample in all such units.

Responsibility

Within the requirements and definitions set by the University's Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy, Schools are responsible for developing their own School Moderation Guidelines. School Moderation Guidelines must be consistent with University policy and should at a minimum address:

  • Definition of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of all those engaged in moderation.
  • Provision of information about moderation to students and staff, including moderators.
  • Provision of induction and training activities for moderators where appropriate.
  • Guidance as to which assessment tasks are to be moderated, with particular reference to post-assessment moderation for units offered collaboratively.
  • Guidance on technical aspects of moderation.
  • Procedures for resolving disagreements between markers and moderators.
  • Requirements for recording decisions, reporting results and maintaining records.
  • Expectations and responsibilities for monitoring the implementation and outcomes of moderation, including provision for continuous review by the School.

Academic Board is responsible for approving School Moderation Guidelines to support the implementation of University's Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy in their Schools.

The Head of School or nominee is responsible for ensuring that individual Course Moderators are appointed and that moderation is carried out according to the approved University and School guidelines.

Course Moderators are responsible for conducting and reporting the outcome of pre- and/or post-assessment moderation, in accordance with the School Moderation Guidelines.

Academic Board is responsible for monitoring the implementation and outcomes of this moderation of assessment policy by endorsing School Moderation Guidelines and receiving annual reports as part of the Annual Program Performance Report from each School.

Staff development opportunities to support the start up and continued implementation of moderation will be provided.

Legislative Context

This policy operates within the context of University Statute 5.3 - Assessment, and its associated Regulations, including those covering Appeals against academic results.

Moderation guidelines are consistent with the University’s Assessment Policy concerning the right of students to request a remark or appeal a final result.

Implementation

The Moderation of Assessment (Higher Education) Policy is to be implemented throughout the University community in the form of:

  1. 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 Policy.