Communicating Assessment Requirements To Students

Macquarie University expects its teaching staff and students to be well familiar with its assessment policy. Here are 7 points of the policy you need to know, follow and communicate to your students.

  1. Assessment is standards-based.

The policy suggests you should provide rubrics or clear marking/assessment criteria and examples of assessment tasks (e.g. essay outline, not necessarily a whole essay). Talk to your colleagues at your and other Faculties, chances are they use well-tested rubrics that you could adopt to your content.

  1. Assessment must be fit for purpose, and efficiently applied.

Try to clearly align assessments with learning outcomes, so students will not be assessed on material that’s not part of the course outline.  Also, there should be at least two assessment tasks in a unit.

  1. Assessment will be program-based.

It is recommended to scaffold assessments across the program  to avoid duplication and over-assessment. Across the program, students may be given a variety of tasks to demonstrate achievement of program learning outcomes, including opportunities to engage in group work. 50% of group work will be assessed on individual performance. Have a conversation with your colleagues and try to map this out across the program together.

  1. Assessment is fair, transparent and equitable

Coursework students should receive some feedback prior to the census date in every session, and students should get a 2nd chance on hurdle assessments (requirement for passing a unit). This will give  your students to learn from the feedback you gave them.

  1. Assessment is valid, aligned and reliable.

Think alignment alignment alignment. Assessment tasks should be aligned with, and consistently and accurately measure learning outcomes. Again, talk to your colleagues about how they get their alignment right.

  1. Assessment design and implementation promotes academic integrity.

Design assessments so students find it hard (better: impossible) to plagiarise. Academic honesty is paramount, serious consequences apply if plagiarism is detected.

  1. Finally, staff are not solely responsible for learning and assessment, students are, too!

Point 5.4.4 of the Assessment Policy states it is students’ responsibility to:

actively engage with assessment tasks (means carefully reading and understanding guidelines, assessment criteria, marking rubrics, etc.)

submit work on time

 

read, reflect and act on feedback provided

 

take initiative and seek clarification or advice, ask questions, make suggestions for improvement!

provide constructive feedback on assessment processes and tasks through student feedback mechanisms (e.g. student surveys, suggestions for future offerings, student representation on committees);

ensure that their work is their own, and abide by the University’s Academic Honesty Policy

 

familiarise themselves with Macquarie’s assessment policy and procedures (e.g. read this post).

 

The policy recommends that “responsibilities will be communicated to students during the period of orientation”. This means teaching staff must communicate early and clearly what they expect from their students, provide appropriate instructions, support material, standards and rubrics relevant to assessments. Why not share these handy tips on how to get most out of group work assignments with your students, and direct them to the Assessment for Students site, for instance?!

Assessment matters. It shapes students’ learning experience and strongly influences what and how students learn. Clearly communicating assessment requirements to students will support their learning.

Read Macquarie’s full Assessment Policy  or visit Macquarie’s TEACH site for an overview.

And read previous Teche posts on examples of the new policy in action:

Assessment Policy FAQ’s

Sample this. Being assessment policy savvy.

Good practice examples of assessments at the Faculty of Arts

 

Written by Lilia Mantai

Lilia Mantai

Lilia has recently submitted a PhD on how PhD students develop researcher identities. She is a researcher and an educator passionate about effective learning and teaching, doctoral education, and providing support to staff and students.

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