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Academic Quality and Standards

Assessment in Coursework Units: Grading and Marking Procedures

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Parent Policy

Assessment in Coursework Units Policy

Date Effective

17-July-2017

Review Date

16-November-2019

Procedure Owner

Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching)

Category

Academic Quality and Standards

Version Number

1.0

Content Enquiries

policy-education@monash.edu

Scope

This procedure applies to all coursework units. It does not apply to the thesis component or equivalent of a graduate research course.

Preamble

These procedures must be read in conjunction with Monash University Academic Board) Regulations Part 3, and Assessment in Coursework Units Policy.

PROCEDURE STATEMENT

Grading and marking

  1. The Chief examiner must specify a suitable marking guide and/or rubric for each assessment task. The rubrics must describe, for each marking criterion, the level of performance required for the different grades, and must be consistent with the following Monash University Grade Descriptors:

    High Distinction (HD)

    80-100

    Distinction (D)

    70-79

    Credit (C)

    60-69

    Pass (P)

    50-59

    Fail (N)

    0-49

    Exceptionally clear understanding of subject matter and appreciation of issues; clearly and logically organised with excellent presentation. Addresses all of the assessment criteria to a very high standard. Evidence of insight and originality where appropriate.

    Strong grasp of subject matter and appreciation of key issues; addresses all the assessment criteria, with several to a high standard; clearly and logically organised with good presentation. Evidence of solid work.

    Competent understanding of subject matter and appreciation of most of the main issues; addresses most of the assessment criteria reasonably well. Competent organisation and presentation.

    Satisfactory. Demonstrates appreciation of subject matter and issues. Addresses most of the assessment criteria adequately but may lack in depth and breadth. Often work of this grade demonstrates only basic comprehension or competency. Work of this grade may be poorly structured and presented.

    Unsatisfactory. Evidence of lack of understanding of subject, minimal or inadequate comprehension and does not address the assessment criteria. Work is often inadequate in depth and breadth and sometimes incomplete or irrelevant; lack of care and thought in organising, presenting and structuring work.

  2. The Chief Examiner must put in place and clearly communicate to staff and students quality assurance mechanisms that will ensure that all assessment items are marked fairly and reliably. To this end:
    1. The Chief Examiner must provide clear instructions to all examiners about the allocation of student marks and grades. Refer to the Guidelines on Moderation, Validity and Reliability of Assessment [FORTHCOMING] for guidance in this area.
    2. For a unit offering involving multiple modes and/or locations, the marking and results of each assessable task must be reviewed across the different cohorts of students taking the same offering of the unit to ensure equivalency and consistency. Refer to the Guidelines on Moderation, Validity and Reliability of Assessment [FORTHCOMING] for additional guidance in this area.

When making a recommendation for student results to the Board of Examiners, the Chief Examiner must provide a report detailing the following:

  • Description of equivalence of all unit assessment tasks used across modes and/or locations.
  • Methods used in marking across all locations and/or modes to ensure consistency.

  1. The Chief Examiner must ensure that the final result for each student is accurately calculated and have appropriate mechanisms in place for verification and recording.
  2. The Chief Examiner is responsible for ensuring that all assessment items are marked within the Faculty timeframe for the return of results to students enrolled in the unit.
  3. Faculties must have processes in place to verify that the results uploaded on the student management system are consistent with the results recorded and held by the Chief Examiner.

The Marking of Examinations

  1. Where the final examination for a unit is written or in digital form, examination answers must be marked blind, as outlined below.

    Blind Marking of Final Written Examinations

  2. Final examination responses must not hold any personal information about the student other than the student identification number. Students will be advised to only record their student ID, desk number and unit code in their responses and the examination task set.
  3. For each final examination there must be an attendance list that will contain the following student details:
    • student ID
    • student full name
    • desk number
    • present/absent indicator
  4. At the conclusion of the examination session, the attendance list is placed inside a sealed bag containing the completed examination response set and returned to the academic or teaching faculty as indicated on the delivery instructions provided by the teaching faculty.
  5. Prior to marking, the attendance list must be removed from the examination responses and stored separately to ensure that it is not available to markers.
  6. Markers must not refer to the attendance list or any other method of identifying a student's name during the marking process.

    Blind Marking of Final Digital Examinations

  7. The Chief Examiner must ensure the student identification facility is disabled in the software program for the duration of the marking process.
  8. Markers must not refer to any student list or any other method of identifying a student's name during the marking process.

    Circumstances in which Blind Marking does not apply

  9. Blind marking is recommended for multiple choice examinations, class tests, assignments and for off-campus learning students (where there is no desk number, and the student name is crucial to administrative processes at an external examination venue).
  10. Where the form of a final examination is not written or digital, such as an oral examination, artistic performance or practical demonstration, or laboratory-based examination, blind marking is not required. In these circumstances, other measures must be taken to ensure that the risk of unintentional bias is kept to a minimum. Examples include double marking or panel marking, and could involve audio or visual recording of the examination to provide a second marking opportunity.
  11. For units in which oral communication or performance is assessed, and in which this assessment is worth more than 20% of the total mark, quality assurance, verification or re-marking of work must be provided through:
    • sound and/or video recording; or
    • initial assessment by more than one examiner; or
    • other defensible form of verification agreed by Chief Examiner (or the Associate Dean (Education) if the Chief Examiner is involved in the assessment design).

    Marking and Grading of Theses for Research Track Coursework Degrees

  12. A thesis corresponding to a research project unit worth 12 credit points or more must be assessed by a minimum of two examiners other than the supervisor. The supervisor may be allowed to mark or contribute a mark for non-thesis components worth up to 20% of the overall assessment of the unit. In awarding these marks, the supervisor should be limited to assessing the research process and not the research product (i.e. the thesis itself).
  13. Wherever practical, the use of external examiners (external to the department or school) should be utilised for theses corresponding to research project units worth 18 credit points or more.
  14. The unit Chief Examiner appoints the thesis examiners (including external examiners) in consultation with supervisors, taking into account subject expertise, examining experience and availability. In cases where the Chief Examiner is a supervisor, the Associate Dean (Research) appoints the thesis examiners.
  15. If there is a difference in the marks awarded by the thesis examiners:
    1. Where the difference of marks is less than 10 percentage points, the final mark is calculated as the average of the marks.
    2. Where the difference of marks is 10 percentage points or higher, the Chief Examiner must determine the final mark by:
  16. arranging a conference of the examiners to agree on a mark and grade, or, failing agreement,
  17. appointing an adjudicator who will review the student thesis and examiner reports and recommend a final mark and grade.

Distribution of Grades

  1. Each Dean or nominee will approve grade distribution guidelines for each Faculty s Board of Examiners, to benchmark the distribution of marks of the units against relevant faculty data (e.g. course, discipline and unit level benchmarks, etc.) having regard to the size and selectivity of the unit cohort. These guidelines must be sent to the Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching) annually.
  2. Where the distribution of marks within a unit falls outside the relevant faculty guidelines, the Chief Examiner must provide to the Board of Examiners, together with the recommended marks, an explanation for the variance. Assessment at Monash is criterion-referenced. As such, this requirement is not intended to encourage markers to mark to any sort of curve or set distribution, but instead acts to ensure appropriate quality assurance of marking processes.
  3. When a Chief Examiner determines that scaling of marks is required to ensure equality of outcomes and consistency across different cohorts of students, they must provide to the Board of Examiners, together with the recommended marks, a detailed justification for the scaling and the method used to adjust the marks.

    Verification of Fail Grades

  4. In addition to quality assurance requirements set out in section 2 and 13, each faculty must have specified processes for verifying all fail grades of a unit. Double marking is recommended for all failed major items of assessment, where the subsequent marker neither has access to the grades or the comments of the original marker. Appropriately constituted second marking may also be employed. In cases where it is not possible for an assessment component to be marked at two different times (e.g. performance or oral presentation), two examiners should be present at the execution of the assessment task and agree on a mark to be awarded or a recording of the assessment made to provide a double marking opportunity. Other defensible forms of verification may be used with the agreement of the Associate Dean (Education) or equivalent. The Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching) will conduct regular audits on the verification of fail grades to ensure marking practices are robust, consistent and fair.

    Amendments and Amendment of Results

  5. Each semester Examinations Services must publish information for faculties regarding the date by which all final results will be uploaded to the student management system.
  6. The Faculty Manager or Faculty Academic Manager will set internal dates by which all student results recommended by Chief Examiners will be uploaded to the student management system, so that Board of Examiners meetings can proceed. After Board of Examiners meetings, the Faculty Manager must ensure that all final and interim results recorded in the student management system are correct by the date set for results publication.
  7. In the unlikely event that amendments to student results are required after the Board of Examiners meeting, the amendments must be approved by the Chair of the Board of Examiners of the unit-teaching faculty using the Post BOE Result Amendment Form detailing the reason for the amended result completed. The form must be retained for audit purposes. When supplementary assessment is granted to a student, the degree awarding faculty must approve the amendment and inform the unit-teaching faculty. Faculties can record an amended result in the student database for a period of up to 19 weeks after the teaching period end date. Facultys that require an amendment to be made after that date must provide a fully completed Post BOE Result Amendment Form to Examination Services for processing.
  8. An audit of all amended results must be performed at least twice per year by each faculty. Post BOE Result Amendment Forms are to be checked against amended records extracted from the student management system. The Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching) may conduct additional regular audits.

    Quality Verification of Assessment across Locations and Teaching Periods

  9. Every two years, Chief Examiners must conduct benchmarking to verify the comparability of unit assessment standards across the different locations, modes and teaching periods of the unit offering. This should involve the work of a small number of students and be representative of all grade ranges.
  10. At the conclusion of this exercise, Chief Examiners must report the findings and any recommendations to the Board of Examiners. This must be reported annually to the Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching).

    Responsibility

    Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching)
    Associate Deans (Education)
    Associate Deans (Research)
    Chief Examiners
    Teaching staff
    Faculty Managers
    Administrative staff
    Boards of Examiners
    Examination Services

    Re-marking of Assessment due to error

    Requests for Re-marking

  11. Subject to the fail mark verification procedures, there is no automatic right for students to have a piece of assessment re-marked.
  12. If a student believes that an error has been made in the assessment of their work, then in the first instance, the student should follow the unit feedback process as set out for the unit.
  13. If after following the unit feedback process, the student is still concerned that their work has been incorrectly assessed, then they may follow faculty processes for review of student marks.

    Faculty Processes for Review of Student Marks

  14. Each faculty must have a specified process for review of student marks where a student complains of error in the assessment of their work. This process must specify:
    • the types of assessment to which the process apply;
    • the time limits for applying for a review;
    • the method of application for a review;
    • the grounds for review;
    • the responsibilities for and timing of a response; and
    • how decisions are recorded to alter marks for audit purposes.
  15. In all circumstances, where a student's work is remarked because of an error, the last mark must stand.

Responsibility

Associate Deans (Education)
Chief Examiners
Teaching staff

Responsibility for implementation

Deans
Associate Deans (Education)

Status

New

Approval Body

Name: Academic Board
Meeting: 7/16
Date: 16-November-2016
Agenda item: 7.2

Definitions

Blind marking: where identifying student information is hidden from the marker while they are marking the assessment task.

Chief Examiner: responsible for the implementation of the unit assessment regime for the unit and must recommend the final result for each student. A Dean must appoint a Chief Examiner for each unit taught by the faculty.

Degree awarding faculty: the faculty that is responsible for the degree. In double degree programs there are usually two degree awarding faculties.

Double marking: Double marking is where the second marker neither has access to the grades or the comments of the original marker.

Final digital examination: a major assessment task consisting of an invigilated or supervised examination held after the end of the teaching period delivered in an electronic format. Students must type, indicate or construct responses using software and/or digital devices authorized for use in examinations by the University.

Final examination: a major assessment task consisting of an invigilated or supervised examination held after the end of the teaching period.

Final result: the final mark and/or grade awarded to a student on completion of assessment for a unit.

Interim result: a grade awarded to a student in a unit when assessment for that unit has not been finalised by the results publishing date.

Major assessment task: an assessment task that represents 20% or more of a students final result in a unit. Minor, regular assessment activities (for example, weekly quizzes), may be categorised collectively as a major task.

Panel marking: Simultaneous marking of a single performance or body of work by more than one assessor, with the final mark arrived at either by negotiated consensus amongst the panel or by synthesising the marks of the individual assessors.

Second marking: Second marking will involve independent marking or validation of a selected sample of assessment, including outlier and/or borderline assignments/examinations (Pass/Fail, Credit/Distinction, etc). The second marker will have access to the comments of the first marker and to the grades awarded by that marker.

Teaching period: a period of the academic year within which a unit is offered. The two standard teaching periods are Semester One and Semester Two (referred to as standard semesters), but some units are offered in a summer or winter teaching period, over the whole year, in an intensive format at any time, or during other predefined periods.

Unit: the basic component of a course in which a student will enrol to undertake study in a particular discipline.

Unit assessment: the assessment of student performance in a unit.

Unit offering: is the delivery of a unit in a particular teaching period, in single or multiple modes and/or locations.

Unit-teaching faculty: is the faculty responsible for teaching the unit.

Legislation Mandating Compliance

Monash University (Academic Board) Regulations - regulations 16-25
Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (TEQSA Act 2011)

Related Policies

Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures
Course Design Policy and Procedures
Coursework Course and Unit Accreditation Policy
Special Consideration Policy and Procedures
Grading Scale Policy and Procedures
Academic Programs from Multiple Campuses Policy
Candidature Progress Management Policy
Candidature Progress Management - Confirmation & Non-Confirmation Procedures
Candidature Progress Management - Termination Procedures
English Language Policy [Forthcoming]

Related Policies

Monash Assessment Vision
Withdrawn Incomplete (WI) flowchart