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School Assessment Body Responsibilities Guideline

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Section 1 - Context

(1) These guidelines support the Code of Ethical Academic Conduct Policy and the Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual, and should be read in conjunction with those documents.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) Assessment Bodies can be established at discipline, Program or School level.

(3) Assessment Bodies are responsible for making recommendations to the Head of School for the approval of final results and grades, as well as reviewing the assessment of a course in accordance with the University’s quality assurance principles.

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Section 3 - Membership and Attendance

(4) The Body/group responsible for assessment shall be determined by the Head of School on the recommendation of the School Executive. Its membership must be reported to Faculty Board.

(5) The Assessment Body must consist of at least three academic staff members.

(6) Heads of Schools will ensure compliance with the  University’s Gender Inclusive Membership of University Committees Policy when determining the membership of a discrete Assessment Body.

(7) A person undertaking a course within the Faculty should not be present at a meeting of the Assessment Body which is considering the results of that course.

(8) Any member of the Assessment Body should absent him or herself from the meeting for the duration of any discussion where the assessment of a student with whom the member has an actual or perceived conflict of interest, is being considered.

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Section 4 - Quorum

(9) If the Assessment Body membership consists of three or four academic staff, the quorum will be three unless prior approval is given by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty.

(10) If the Assessment Body membership consists of more than four academic staff, the quorum will be one half plus one of the membership of the body.

(11) When an Assessment Body is inquorate, the meeting must be rescheduled and no business should be transacted. In such cases, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty may appoint an additional academic staff member, on the recommendation of the Head of School, to supplement the membership of the assessment body for that meeting.

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Section 5 - Chair

(12) The Head of School shall determine who will chair the meeting of the Assessment Body.

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Section 6 - Meetings

(13) The Assessment Body will meet when required to undertake its responsibilities in relation to assessment, as soon as practicable after the end of the formal examination period of each term, or as called by the Chair or by a majority of the members.

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Section 7 - Records and Confidentiality

(14) The Assessment Body shall keep a record of its recommendations in the form of a report (or minutes) to the Head of School, and these must be retained as an official record for review in case of an appeal against a final result.  The report (or minutes) shall contain:

  1. any comments on the quality assurance processes undertaken on courses within the School;
  2. the recommendations on final results and/or final grades;
  3. the reasons for any variations between the results/grades recommended by the Course Co-ordinator and those recommended by the assessment body;
  4. details of any referrals as per Clauses 21-23 to Course Co-ordinators or Heads of School and if possible the outcomes of such referrals;
  5. details of the way the Assessment Body addressed any applications received under the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Procedure; and
  6. any determinations or recommendations that may have been made during the meeting.

(15) The Assessment Body shall treat its proceedings as confidential.

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Section 8 - Procedure

Course Co-ordinator Responsibilities

(16) The Course Co-ordinator shall supply the Assessment Body with a Course Assessment Return, including the following prescribed components:

  1. breakdown of the distribution of grades for the course for the current and last three offerings of the course (if available);
  2. a list of final results achieved by students for the course;
  3. instructor evaluation of course outcomes (Course Evaluation);
  4. Student Feedback on Course Results (SFC);
  5. results and weightings across each of the assessment components;
  6. the course outline as given to students on the first day of term;
  7. assessment items used to assess students during their course;
  8. a list of students with either I or S grades at the end of term including details of when and how these will be resolved;
  9. outcomes of any applications made under the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Procedure.

(17) It is recognised that some of these items may not be available at the time of the assessment body’s meeting, viz (c) and (d). The completed Course Assessment Return can be provided later in accordance with the provisions of Clause 23.

(18) The Course Co-ordinator must ensure that results are correctly recorded against the appropriate student.

(19) The Course Co-ordinator shall make recommendations in accordance with Clause 17 to the Assessment Body on the final results and grades. The recommendations will include:

  1. details of any scaling procedures or any moderations undertaken, and a rationale for their use; and
  2. an assurance that the assessment components and their weightings accurately reflect the information made available to the students through the course outline.

Responsibilities of the Assessment Body

(20) The Assessment Body:

  1. will examine the Course Assessment Return for those courses for which it is responsible.
  2. may examine the assessment components for:
    1. quality;
    2. compliance with the published requirements; and
    3. contribution to the course objectives.
  3. should report any concerns to the Head of School.
  4. will examine whether the pattern of results within a course is consistent with other courses for which it is responsible.
  5. will examine all I and S grades; ensure that they have been correctly attributed under the various categories; attempt to resolve as many as possible before the meeting is completed, or seek clear advice as to when they will be resolved.
  6. will monitor the applications made during the delivery of the course under the provisions of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Procedure, to check they have been addressed in compliance with the Procedure and to ensure the outcomes have been reflected in the results awarded.

Referrals

(21) Where a matter is referred to another person for clarification or resolution, the matter will normally be dealt with during the Assessment Body meeting. However, if this is not possible, the matter may be dealt with by the Chair of the Assessment Body, and a recommendation made to the Head of School.

(22) If any matter which can not be dealt with during the Assessment Body meeting has implications for other students, or the results of other students (for example when a moderation has been requested), the Assessment Body must reconvene to make a recommendation to the Head of School.

(23) If the Course Assessment Return is incomplete at the time of the Assessment Body meeting, the Chair of the Assessment Body may review the material when it is complete and make a recommendation to the Head of School.  The Head of School may determine a time period in which the complete Course Assessment Return must be provided.

Recommendations on Final Results or Grades

(24) Where possible, the Assessment Body should reach consensus on all decisions regarding students’ results and grades.  If consensus cannot be reached, a secret ballot should be undertaken and all members should indicate the result or grade they consider appropriate. The outcome of that secret ballot will be that agreed by the majority and must be recorded in the minutes.

(25) The Assessment Body shall normally accept the recommendations of the Course Co-ordinator.

(26) Where the Assessment Body has concerns about the recommendations, especially the pattern of results, it may request one or more of the following:

  1. clarification from the Course Co-ordinator;
  2. a moderation of the results assigned to all students or to a group of students for a particular major assessment item or the final results and grades;
  3. details of any inaccuracies or anomalies between the recorded final result or grade and those recommended to the Assessment Body, together with any reasons for the differences.

(27) The Assessment Body may recommend to the Head of School a variation of the results and grades when any one of the following conditions are met:

  1. there have been inaccuracies;
  2. there has been non-compliance with a University policy or the approved Course Outline;
  3. a moderation has revealed discrepancies in the results awarded;
  4. the Course Co-ordinator has confirmed that there is no requirement for a supplementary assessment.
In each case the assessment body will provide written support for the recommendation to the Head of School.

Responsibilities of the Head of School

(28) When the Assessment Body has finalised its recommendations on each course, the Chair of the Assessment Body will present the recommendations to the Head of School for approval.

(29) In accordance with the provisions listed in Clauses 24-27, the Chair of the Assessment Body may present the final results and grades to the Head of School for approval without the completed Course Assessment Return.

(30) The Head of School must approve the final results and grades for all courses within the relevant School.

(31) Once approved by the Head of School, final results and grades will be posted in the student administration system, NUSTAR, for official publication in accordance with the fully graded date.

(32) Examinations staff will liaise with the Head of School regarding courses which do not have posted final results and grades prior to the fully graded date.

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Section 9 - Approval for Changes to Final Results and Grades

(33) After the fully graded date, changes to final results and grades are only possible by way of an Amendment to Result Form (see Amendment to Final Result Class List or Amendment to Final Result Individual) or under the provisions for Appeal Against Final Result detailed in the Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual.

(34) Changes to final results and grades within six months of the fully graded date must be approved by the Head of School.

(35) Changes to final results and grades more than six months but less than two years after the fully graded date must be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor on the recommendation of the Head of School.

(36) Changes to final results and grades more than two years after the fully graded date will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, and must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on the recommendation of the Head of School and Pro Vice-Chancellor .

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Section 10 - Quality Assurance Cycle

(37) Following the Head of School's approval of the complete Course Assessment Return, the Pro Vice-Chancellor must receive from Strategy, Planning and Performance, a report including:

  1. a summary of the distribution of results for each course;
  2. a comparison of the distribution of results with the distributions for the previous three offerings; and
  3. SFC outcomes.

(38) If the Pro Vice-Chancellor has concerns about the course outcomes, the Head of School and Course Co-ordinator will be asked to explain and, where necessary, required to adopt strategies for improvement.

(39) Where there are significant improvements or trends identified, these will be reported by the Pro Vice-Chancellor to the Faculty Board.

(40) The Pro Vice-Chancellor will be required to report annually to the Faculty Board and Academic Senate on course outcomes, in accordance with the University’s quality assurance cycle.