Assessing student achievement
Assessment is the key way we ascertain whether students have demonstrated achievement of the unit’s learning outcomes, and their development towards the GLOs.
As part of the assessment panel, you will have ensured that the tasks are designed to enable students to demonstrate their learning. At Deakin, the Assessment (Higher Education courses) procedure asserts that assessments must:
- Progressively build students’ knowledge and skills
- Provide opportunities for feedback, and
- Confirm that learning outcomes specified for each course are achieved at the appropriate standard
The marking process involves making judgements on students’ submissions against an agreed set of standards. A properly developed rubric assists to ensure marks are awarded against a standard and not in comparison to other students. It’s important to note, that academic judgement is required to assess the quality of students’ work. A rubric on its own cannot determine what an assessment submission is worth.
All assessments must be marked with feedback to be communicated to students within 15 working days.
Ensuring that student work is marked in a timely, equitable, and meaningful manner can be challenging; particularly for larger units with multiple markers. Moderation is a process which ensures that:
- An assessment outcome (e.g. mark and/or grade) is fair, valid and reliable
- Assessment criteria have been applied consistently
- Any differences in academic judgement between individual markers can be acknowledged and addressed
Moderation processes help achieve consistency in marking within cohorts and across time. To support markers to be consistent, Unit Chairs should ensure that for every task that requires academic judgment, markers are provided with, at a minimum:
- Interpretive marking and feedback guidelines
- The rubric outlining the criteria and performance standards
- Representative work samples, where possible
- An opportunity to meet and discuss the criteria and standards
There are several ways in which marking moderation can be conducted. The Assessment Panel is required to determine which of the approved methods for ensuring comparability of assessment outlined in Schedule B of the Assessment Higher Education Courses Procedure will be used for each task. Notably, when a task is deemed to involve objective test questions, comparability is assumed and procedural checking is what is required.
For tasks that do require academic judgement, one of the best methods of ensuring your markers are marking consistently is to hold a moderation meeting just before marking commences. To prepare for this meeting, staff should be provided with the rubric, instructions for marking, and the same four submissions to mark prior to the meeting.At the meeting, go through each paper to determine where the standards are being applied consistently and, particularly where there are inconsistencies, negotiate an agreed understanding of the expectations for the particular criteria or standard.
At this meeting, the agreed approach to providing feedback should also be discussed. The Faculty Feedback Tool is a useful resource around which to base your discussion around giving effective feedback. For further information on providing feedback, head to Providing feedback on student assessment