Assessment Moderation Policy

Status


Approved

The aim of assessment moderation is to ensure consistency and fairness of the marking and grading processes. Moderation is especially important where units are delivered in multiple modes, at multiple campuses or where the assessment is subjective. Assessment moderation enhances confidence in assessment outcomes for both academics and students, Assessment moderation is applied at three stages: assessment design and development; implementation, marking and grading; and review and...

Public
visibility
Approved on: 13 Nov 2017
Review cycle: 3 Years
Owned by

Learning, Teaching and Research Committee

Approved by

Academic Board

Policy Contact: 
Secretary, Learning Teaching and Research Committee
Definitions: 

Academic in Charge
The suitably qualified person responsible for the delivery of a unit in a location or mode of delivery. Any delivery of a unit will only have one Academic in Charge. Multiple deliveries of a unit in the same semester may have the same or different Academics in charge.

Assessment method
How evidence will be collected in an assessment task, examples include presentation, essay, reflection paper, piece of art.

Assessment strategy
The collection of assessment tasks that are aggregated to award a grade at the completion of a unit.

Assessment task
A set of instructions, word count or duration and due date specifying how a student will be assessed for specific learning outcomes.

Calibration
The act of participating in consensus moderation with another institution such that the participating academic is calibrated to a shared standard.

Unit Coordinator
The person appointed by the College to organise and oversee the delivery of one or more units.

Background: 

Replaces previous Grade Monitoring and Moderation Policy.

Purpose: 

The aim of assessment moderation is to ensure consistency and fairness of the marking and grading processes. Moderation is especially important where units are delivered in multiple modes, at multiple campuses or where the assessment is subjective. Assessment moderation enhances confidence in assessment outcomes for both academics and students, Assessment moderation is applied at three stages: assessment design and development; implementation, marking and grading; and review and evaluation.

Scope: 

The Policy refers relates to all units of study delivered by the College or any of its teaching partners.

Statement: 

Relationship to the Threshold Standards: 

Standard 1.4.3 Methods of assessment are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed, are capable of confirming that all specified learning outcomes are achieved and that grades awarded reflect the level of student attainment.

Standard 5.3.4. Review and improvement activities include regular external referencing of the success of student cohorts against comparable courses of study, including: …

b. the assessment methods and grading of students’ achievement of learning outcomes for selected units of study within courses of study.

Introduction

To ensure that the assessment process for each unit delivery is fair, valid and reliable each unit delivery will undergo assessment moderation applied at three stages: assessment design and development; implementation, marking and grading; and review and evaluation. To ensure that the assessment methods and grading of students’ achievement of learning outcomes is reviewed and improved a fourth stage of external review will occur.

Stage 1: Assessment Design and Development

Assessment moderation in the design and development stage is managed though UGBOOT which is the College’s Curriculum Management Software.  

The College determines assessment tasks that are fair, valid and reliable during the accreditation process.

When a unit is delivered the Academic in Charge sets the delivery schedule and assessment tasks in UGBOOT and provides marking rubrics for the unit of study. Assessment tasks marked as critical tasks in the accreditation documents cannot be changed by the Academic in Charge.

The following processes are crucial in developing assessment tasks that are fair, valid and reliable:

  • Alignment of assessment tasks to learning outcomes
  • Marking criteria and grading rubrics that align the specific requirements of the assessment task to the College’s sub division of grades
  • The Academic in charge must also consider the appropriate type of assessments tasks, number of assessment tasks, weighting of assessments tasks, and complexity of the assessment task for the level of the unit.

Initially, these are externally reviewed during the accreditation process. Overtime units will be updated with improved assessments when requested by the Unit Coordinator.

The Unit Guide is then moderated by the Unit Coordinator who ensures that:

  • Suitable topics are planned which will cover the content intended for the Unit;
  • The learning outcomes intended for the unit can be met by the topics and resources which will be delivered;
  • The assessment tasks are aligned to the learning outcomes or competencies in a manner which will adequately test the skills and knowledge gained by the learner;
  • The weighted value of the tasks is appropriate having regard to the complexity of the task and its academic demand.

Stage 2: Assessment Implementation, Marking and Grading

Ideally, the same person should mark an assessment task across all deliveries of a unit in the same Semester.

Moderation to ensure consistency of marks will occur when:

  • more than one person marks the same assessment task in a unit delivery
  • Where the unit is delivered in more than one mode or at different locations in the same semester
  • When a person is marking the first time
  • When a fail mark is given for an assessment task weighted over 40%

When a unit is delivered in multiple modes or locations within a Semester or when more than one marker is assigned to an assessment task one of the following moderation processes must be adopted:

  • Second marking – A sample of assessed items will be marked a second time by another academic staff member. The items chosen for second marking should be representative and be a number equal to the square root of the total number of assessed items or five items, whichever is the larger. If there are sufficient inconsistencies within the sample than all items may be required to be re-marked.
  • Blind double marking – The moderator is not informed of the previous marker’s grade. If the marks given by the two markers are within 10% of each other, the final mark is the average of the two. If the marks differ by more than 10% a third marker examines the work. The markers may then discuss the marks to arrive at a consensus result of the median of the three marks is taken as the final mark.
  • Cross marking – Where the unit is delivered in multiple locations or modes the marking is shared across all locations/modes so that one person marks all of the same assessment task for all locations/modes.

When a person is marking for the first time, the unit co-ordinator will second mark a sample of assessed items following the guidelines for second marking above.

When a fail mark is awarded for an assessment task weighted more than 40% the Dean of Academic Administration will appoint a moderator. The moderator is informed of the previous marker’s judgement and the reviewer’s task is to check whether they agree with the previous marker.

Stage 3: Assessment Review and Evaluation

Assessment review and evaluation is part of the ongoing improvement process which can provide input to adjust the assessment strategy for when the unit is delivered. Due to when this feedback is received, adjustments may not be made to the delivery immediately after the one which received feedback.

The following information will be used internally in the review and evaluation of assessment:

  • Grade Distribution reports (with comparative data from previous deliveries)
  • Unit Evaluation and Improvement feedback from students

This information will be forwarded to the Academic in charge and the Unit Co-ordinator (UC) and where relevant the Head of School (HOS). A response will be provided by both the Academic in charge and the unit coordinator and any improvement items entered into the Quality Improvement section for the unit of study in UGBOOT
 

Stage 4: External Review

External Review of marks will not normally change a student’s marks or grades as it is a post-assessment moderation.
Within each course a sample of units will undergo external review and assessment benchmarking within the cycle of accreditation. These sample units will be prioritised as:

  1. units recognised as capstones
  2. units with more than 10 enrolments
  3. units shared across courses
  4. units taught in parallel
  5. units to ensure various academics’ assessment practice’s undergo external review or calibration

This may mean not every unit will undergo external review in the cycle of accreditation.

A sample of assessment tasks will be blind marked by an academic external to the College. Care will also be taken that a range of grades is included in the sample. Results of the exercise will be returned to the College and a report written for the Academic Standards and Risk Committee to take action upon. Such actions may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Requesting internal second marking for the academic involved
  2. Commending the academic for consistency
  3. Requesting changes to assessment tasks
  4. Requesting changes to the assessment strategy for a unit

Where the College has been deemed to marking more than 10% below the external moderator marks may be raised at the request of the Academic Standards and Risk Committee.

The list of units moderated and actions taken will be reported to the Academic Board for monitoring purposes.

In each round of moderation, external academics will also conduct a review on a sample of the assessment strategies for the moderated units as well as issues of pedagogy and usefulness of resources.