Earlier this month, Academic Senate passed a new Assessment Policy. We asked Dr. Mitch Parsell, the Chair of Senate Learning and Teaching Committee about the reasons for the new Policy and the key changes academics should know about.
Why a new Assessment Policy?
There are two main reasons why we needed a new Assessment Policy.
First, we really wanted to make the Assessment Policy less directive. The new policy is framed as a set of high level principles that allows academic greater freedom to develop assessment practice that are fit for their particular disciplines and their particular students.
Second, we also wanted to avoid unnecessary assessment load for both students and staff. The new policy is an attempt to balance effective assessment with efficient assessment.
Can you flag some specific changes for our readers?
There are some substantial changes in the new Assessment Policy.
Number of assessments:
There is no longer a requirement for three assessment tasks. In effect there is a requirement to have at least two assessment tasks, because the Policy says that ‘no task should be more than 60% except in unusual circumstances’
Designing with academic honesty in mind.
There is a requirement now that when we design our tasks we consider issues around academic honesty. Academic honesty is a significant ongoing issue across the sector, but an area where good assessment design can really help. This short paper from Oxford Brookes University shows what can be done very efficiently
New group-work requirements:
Group work is a part everyone’s work-life. Hence the University has an obligation to provide students with skills to be able to work effectively in groups. So group work needs to be encouraged and group work should be assessed. But it needs to be assessed sensitively. Under the new policy where group-work is assessed, there needs to be a specific learning outcome based around group-work, and at least 50% of the mark that students will receive for group-work will be allocated to individual performance.
Hurdle assessment requirements
When setting hurdle assessments, there is now a requirement to provide students with a second chance to meet the hurdle requirement, provided that the student has made a serious first attempt at the assessment.
When will the new Policy come into effect?
The policy will roll out from Session 2 this year.
Read the full draft of the Assessment Policy: Assessment Policy and Schedules – April 2016