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Student Academic Performance Evaluation Policy

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The University of Newcastle (University) acknowledges the need to support students throughout the duration of their studies. The University uses learning analytics for monitoring students academic performance to facilitate adaptive and responsive educational design and improve learning environments, incorporating information from students academic progress, engagement, results, and enrolment trends.

(2) The University will monitor students academic performance at the course level, as required by the Higher Education Support Act 2003, to determine engagement,appropriate outreach activities, and comply with reporting obligations. 

(3) In the event of an inconsistency between the Student Academic Performance Evaluation Policy and a Rule or a Schedule to a Rule, the Rule or Schedule to the Rule made by the Council will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(4) This Policy provides principles for the use of learning analytics, and an evidence-based approach to monitoring of academic performance at the course level and connecting students with appropriate support services. 

(5) This Policy is designed to:

  1. provide guidance to students on the use of learning analytics to monitor and evaluation academic performance, expecially academic success and access to appropriate support services;
  2. provide guidance to staff on the use of learning analytics to identify students who are at-risk of not successfully completing their course.

(6) This Policy is an accompanying document to the Support for Students Policy and is supported by the Student Academic Performance Evluation Procedure which should be read in conjunction with this Policy.

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Section 3 - Scope

(7) This Policy applies to students enrolled in an enabling or coursework program at the University, and should be read and understood by the academic, professional, and executive staff who oversee and support student learning.

(8) This Policy applies to the Joint Medical Program (JMP). In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and the policies and procedures specific to the JMP, the policies and procedures of the JMP will prevail to the extent of the inconsistency, unless the matter relates to a delegation of authority.

(9) This Policy does not apply to Higher Degrees by Research (please see Higher Degree by Research Policy).

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Section 4 - Principles

(10) Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, the University must have a process for identifying students that are at-risk of not successfully completing their course and for providing access to available supports.

(11) The use of learning analytics brings together existing data and information to support an evidence-based method of identifying student needs and to connecting those students with appropriate support services relevant to their course or program.

(12) The University's approach to learning analytics to evaluate academic performance and related outreach activities will be managed in accordance with the University's:

  1. Information Security Policy;
  2. Information Security Access Control Standard;
  3. Data Classification and Handling Policy and Standard
  4. Privacy Management Plan
  5. Privacy Policy; and
  6. Records Governance Policy

(13) Students are provided with information regarding the reason for the collecting personal information for learning analytics.

(14) The collection, use, and disclosure of information used in the University's approach to learning analytics is included in the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment, which are accepted by students annually.

(15) Students are also provided with information about learning analytics via: 

  1. course outlines; and
  2. the learning management system.

Use of Learning Analytics

(16) The University will maintain an evidence-based approach to the evaluation of student academic performance through the use of learning analytics. 

(17) Learning analytics data will support: 

  1. the early identification of students at-risk of not successfully completing their course or program;
  2. identifying pertinent support services aimed at maximising positive educational outcomes and reducing negative educational outcomes;
  3. continuous improvement of teaching and learning activities.

(18) The Student Academic Performance Evaluation Procedure provides details on how learning analytics dashboards are to be used in the learning and teaching context and the provision of education and learning experiences for students

(19) Data used for the purpose of learning analytics is subject to existing data access protocols. 

(20) The provision of access to learning analytics dashboards is the responsibility of Strategy, Planning and Performance. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Innovation will approve access to Student Academic Performance Evaluation Dashboards. Staff who may be granted access to data includes, but is not limited to:

  1. relevant academic staff will have access to data that applies to their roles, including:
    1. Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience;
    2. Course Co-ordinators;
    3. Heads of School;
    4. Program Convenors; and
    5. Assistant Dean (Education).
  2. Relevant professional staff from: 
    1. Learning Design and Teaching Innovation;
    2. Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice President;
    3. Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Innovation;
    4. Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience;
    5. Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre (PALS); 
    6. Strategy, Planning and Performance (SPP); and
    7. Student Central.