Higher Education Assessment Policy

Policy code: LT1302
Policy owner: Chair, Learning and Teaching Quality Committee
Approval authority: Academic Board
Approval date: 11 July 2006
Next review date: 20 September 2024


The purpose of this policy is to:

  1. Support and elaborate the expectations of the University’s Learning and Teaching Policy, and in particular, the educative principles that:
    • Learning activities and assessments are clearly aligned with stated learning outcomes and
    • Assessment procedures and practices are valid, fair, flexible, feasible, culturally appropriate and incorporate clearly defined assessment criteria
  2. Recognise the importance of moderation as a mechanism for quality assurance and as a collegial process by which Institutes/Schools/Centre develop, maintain and monitor good practice in the assessment of students. It addresses the interests of students, staff, the University’s partners and its external stakeholders. Assessment seeks to assure all stakeholders that:
    • Exemplary practice in assessment is being applied consistently across the institution, its programs and by partner providers
    • Student performance is being properly, fairly, equitably, consistently and transparently judged across all students undertaking the same course of study and
    • Standards expected of, and achieved by students are appropriate, reliable and comparable to best practice at the University including partner providers.


This policy applies to assessment 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 students enrolled 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.

The policy sets a framework of minimum requirements for moderation within which Schools are supported through the use of the Moderation Resource.


Term Definition
Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander student A person who is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and is accepted as such by the community in which they live or have lived
Active participation

In learning, this can include but is not limited to:

  • Formal classroom or online discussion
  • Workshops, artistic performances, practical sessions or field trips
  • Small group discussions or written exercises
  • Class presentations, laboratory work, role plays, blogs, wikis and webinars
  • Reflecting on, critiquing, or commenting on content or presentations provided by staff or other students

Attendance alone is not normally regarded as active participation

Alternative assessment An assessment task provided to give a student further opportunity to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes when they have been unable to do so in the assessment tasks stipulated in the Course Description.  Alternative assessment may be authorised by the Dean or nominee. Refer Special Consideration Procedure
Annual Moderation Cycle A 12 month period consisting of a minimum of three consecutive teaching periods. The cycle commences Semester 1 in an academic year and concludes at the end of Summer Semester
Assessment The process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether the agreed learning outcomes for that course has been achieved
Assessment Task A specific, discrete learning activity or exercise designed to obtain evidence about a student’s achievement of the published learning outcomes of a course. Tasks can be diagnostic, formative or summative, including but not limited to, essays, presentations, performance, exhibition or final examinations
Bilingual dictionary Specialised dictionary used to translate words or phrases from one language to another

Cheating is any act through which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in admission to or the assessment process for a course. Cheating may include, but is not limited to:

  • Resubmitting or largely reusing previously assessed work as new work. Fabrication or falsification of data and/or results
  • Presenting work, which is the outcome of directly working with others, as their own (collusion), without knowledge
  • Allowing another person to complete an assessment or examination on behalf of a student, including the use of contract cheating services
  • Accessing/obtaining an advance copy of an examination paper unless otherwise authorised, e.g. a ‘seen’ paper
  • Communicating with or copying from, another person/s during an examination
  • Bringing into, or receiving during an examination, unauthorised material/information
  • Presenting untrue medical/special consideration forms
  • Knowingly helping others to cheat, including by contributing to assignment sharing websites; and/or
  • Taking actions which intrude on the ability of others to complete their assessment tasks
Course A subsidiary element of a program
Course Coordinator An academic with overall responsibility for the design, delivery and assessment of a course of study
Course Description A thorough description of the expected course learning outcomes, assessments, due dates, marking guides and sequence details of a course. It must align with FedUni Course Description (CD) template (add link).
Course Moderator An individual or group of individuals appointed to conduct preparation and review phases of moderation of assessment of a course
Course Outline A brief description of the course including learning outcomes, content and assessment which is approved by the Higher Education Curriculum Committee and used as the basis for the Course Description
Deferment of Assessment An application for deferment of an assessment can only be made in exceptional circumstances, in accordance with the Higher Education Special Consideration Procedure SS1967 
Diagnostic assessment Assessment tasks used to determine students' level of knowledge, skills, and understandings prior so that curriculum and teaching can be adapted to support learning.  
Examination Any invigilated assessment task (written or practical) or other written paper that is timetabled within an examination period and that forms part of the final results in a course or program
External benchmarking Comparing performance outcomes and/or processes of similar courses delivered by other Australian higher education providers
Formative assessment Refers to a wide variety of assessment methods which are used to monitor students' progress against standards and provides them with feedback that compares their progress to standards and supports their learning
Final Course Supplementary Assessment Students who receive an MF grade in their final Semester may apply to the Program Coordinator within 7 days of the publication of results for supplementary assessment if that course is the only outstanding course required to complete the degree, the course is not exempt from supplementary assessment, and the student has not been found guilty of plagiarism in that Semester. The highest grade attainable will be a Pass grade. This only applies if the student is not eligible for any other form of supplementary assessment.
Integrative assessment Assessment tasks primarily designed to enhance future learning for a student
Invigilated assessment Any type of supervised assessment, e.g. exams, in-class tests.
Learning Access Plan (LAP)

A formal document that assists registered students to communicate their negotiated reasonable adjustments and/or other supports for flexible study with Schools within the University.

The LAP outlines:

  • how the elite performer/coach/athlete’s commitments or medical condition, mental health condition, or disability impacts on a student's ability to participate in education
  • the student's own strategies to address these impacts
  • the adjustments required within the student's academic program
  • in-class adjustments
  • examination adjustments
  • placement or off-campus activity adjustments
  • other services required
Moderation A quality assurance process which ensures that assessment is continuously conducted with accuracy, consistency, transparency and fairness
Moderation of assessment - Implementation (MAI) Checks marking by moderating a designated sample of marked student work to ensure that markers are making consistent and accurate assessment decisions in line with published assessment criteria
Moderation of assessment – Preparation (MAP) Validates the appropriateness, fairness, clarity, accuracy and standard of assessment tasks and materials before they are used for assessment
Moderation of assessment – Review (MAR) Confirms that MAI was conducted properly and makes changes to future assessments as part of continuous improvement. Course coordinators will determine a process for review according to School guidelines
Moderation Resource A mandated resource for use in the moderation of assessment
Moderator/s Appropriately qualified academic staff member/s who are responsible for ensuring the quality of setting and marking of student assessments
NESB Non-English Speaking Background – a student who speaks a language other than English as their first language
Partner Provider (also known as Third Party) An approved educational institution that delivers university programs/courses as part of an agreement
Plagiarism The presentation of work/s by another person/s as one’s own work by failing to properly acknowledge those person/s. Proper acknowledgement means to clearly identify which parts of a work originate from which source - refer Academic Integrity Policy LT1943
Program Study/research leading to the granting of an official University award or qualification – refer Schedule 5.1. A program contains subsidiary elements referred to as courses
Program Coordinator Person responsible for the overall management of a program or range of programs
Published Assessment Criteria The criteria against which a student’s performance in the course will be judged, made available in writing to students within the Course Description or via the University’s LMS. The intent is to provide students with a clear and explicit understanding of the standards they are expected to achieve relative to marks awarded.
Published Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes that are provided in writing to students in the Course Description which is based on the Course Outline prior to the start of teaching

Learning outcomes serve as a reference point for preparation and review phases of moderation of assessment.

Ratification of results

The process used by Schools to approve student results and grades

The process of ratification should enable confidence that the result is sufficiently accurate to be representative of the total population of assessments being ratified

Reasonable adjustments Measures and adaptations put in place to facilitate student participation in Courses and Programs while ensuring that academic standards and inherent requirements of the Course are not compromised
School Federation University Australia has a number of Academic Organisational Units
Special consideration Acknowledgement by a Dean or nominee 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 in assessing the student’s work. To enable the student to demonstrate their achievement of the course learning outcomes, they may be granted deferred assessment, additional assessment, an extension of an assessment due date or other suitable accommodation as deemed necessary. Such allowance 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 serious illness and/or serious psychological condition, loss or bereavement, or hardship/trauma - refer Special Consideration Procedure
Student Any person admitted to the University in a Course or Program
Summative assessment Final assessment used to determine a mark or grade
Supplementary assessment An assessment or examination that provides eligible students with a further opportunity to demonstrate that they have achieved the required learning outcomes of a course when they have marginally failed (45%+) previous examination/assessment tasks.  Refer Supplementary Assessment Procedure LT2032 
Third Party Providers (also known as Partner Providers) Other entities through which registered providers deliver higher education courses, either on shore or off shore, within the requirements of the Threshold Standards, regardless of mode or location of delivery

Policy Statement

Federation University Australia’s approach to assessment is based on the following principles, which must be observed within all Schools. The policy acknowledges that types of assessment used throughout the University are diverse and vary according to the academic discipline. Moderation processes ensure quality assurance standards are consistent and contribute to continuous improvement.

Principle Achieved when:
Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning
  • There is alignment between the Course Outline, the published Course Description and assessment strategies.
  • Marks for all assessment tasks/examinations and the overall grade are decided by reference to pre-determined assessment criteria standards and specified learning outcomes; and marks reflect the actual achievement of the student. Timely and meaningful feedback is given.
  • Assessment should be used for diagnostic, formative, integrative or summative purposes as appropriate
Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance
  • The range of assessment tasks is sufficiently extensive and varied to permit valid and reliable judgement of a student’s performance.
  • Assessment practices are conducted and undertaken ethically and with honesty and integrity by staff and students.
  • Students are required to submit all assessments electronically with an accompanying completed declaration form, unless specific circumstances require otherwise. Such circumstances will need to be approved by the Dean of School.
  • Final Course Supplementary Assessment will only be provided if appropriate in particular circumstances to students who have passed all courses of study for their award except one and who have achieved an MF grade in that course in their final teaching period.
Assessment practices must be fair and equitable for all students
  • Students may have an opportunity to access examples of previous assessment tasks and are provided with timely information about assessments/examinations. Gender, racial or cultural bias is avoided and inclusive language is used.
  • Reasonable adjustments are made to cater for any disadvantages, without compromising the academic standards of assessment. Provision for use of a bilingual dictionary applies to all invigilated assessments for students from a non-English speaking background including students who identify themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • Students are given timely opportunities to discuss any concerns or grievances about assessment outcomes with academic staff.
Assessment must be authentic and meaningful
  • Assessment tasks should reflect real world situations, relevant to the area of study
  • Assessment tasks should be adapted so they are contextualised for the student
Assessment must maintain academic standards
  • Assessments are marked by appropriately qualified academics.
  • Moderation processes are undertaken by each School and results are ratified to ensure consistency.
  • Partner academic standards are ensured by the moderation of assessment tasks.
  • Courses or programs offered at multiple locations or by partner providers have equivalent assessment.


  • Academic Board (as Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and will receive annual reports as part of the annual Program Performance Report from each School
  • Chair, Learning and Teaching Committee (L&T) (as Policy Sponsor) is responsible for maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by Academic Board
  • Executive Officer, Learning and Teaching Committee is responsible for the administration support for the maintenance of this policy as directed by the Chair, Learning and Teaching Committee (L&T)
  • Deans of Schools are responsible for oversight of the operational implementation of this policy
  • Schools will utilise the University Approved Moderation Resource and training as provided.
  • The resource, approved and monitored by The University, covers:
    • 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  moderation of assessment – review  for courses 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 will be directed by the Associate Dean Teaching Quality
  • The Dean of School or their nominee is responsible for ensuring that individual Course Moderators are appointed and that moderation is carried out according to the Moderation Resource. Staff development opportunities to support the start up and continued implementation of moderation will be identified and provided
  • Course Moderators are responsible for conducting and reporting the outcome of moderation of assessment – preparation and/or – review, in accordance with the Moderation Resource


The Higher Education Assessment Policy 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 Policy.
  • Learning and Teaching Committee
  • School meetings
  • Academic Induction Program
  • Partner communications


The Higher Education Assessment Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

Information Sessions; and/or

Training Sessions

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Amendment to Result Form University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School/Centre teaching the course Permanent
Assessment Benchmarking/Validation schedule University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School/Centre teaching the course

Destroy 3 years from date of last action

Dispose of hard copy records as per disposal process in Records Management procedure

Final Assessment Results University's approved student management system Coordinator Programs of the School teaching the course Permanent
Moderation of Assessment schedule and record University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School teaching the course /CUP

Destroy 3 years from date of last action

Dispose of hard copy records as per disposal process in Records Management procedure

Moderation Resource University's approved records management system CAD/CUP Permanent
Record of Assessment University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School teaching the course /Partner Permanent
Re-issue of Statement of Results University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School teaching the course

1 year from date application made

Dispose of hard copy records as per disposal process in the Records Management procedure

Student Assessment materials University's approved records management system Coordinator Programs of the School teaching the course /Partner

Destroy 18 months after administrative use has concluded

Dispose of hard copy records as per disposal process in Records Management procedure