Assessment Policy

Document Number000995
Date Approved19 September 2012

1.      Introduction

This policy is made by Academic Senate in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Governing Courses and Assessment and is part of the legislative framework that authorises and describes the functions and responsibility of Academic Senate.

This policy must be read in conjunction with the:

  • Rules Governing Courses and Assessment;
  • Course Management Policy
  • Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual

The Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual describes the relevant practices and responsibilities of University bodies, officers and students.

In the event of an inconsistency between lower level policy documents and a Rule(s) or Schedule to the Rule(s), the Rule(s) made by Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

In the event of an inconsistency between an Academic Senate policy document and a Faculty policy, procedure or guideline, the policy document of Academic Senate prevails to the extent of the inconsistency. 

2.      Policy Scope

This policy applies to the assessment in courses created and offered by the University of Newcastle and its controlled entities across all campuses, locations and modes of delivery (on-campus, online blended or by distance).

3.      Policy Intent

The purpose of this policy is to describe the principles that have been approved by Academic Senate for the assessment in courses offered by the University of Newcastle. 

4.      Relevant Definitions

This document is to be read in conjunction with the University’s Policy Glossary.

5.      Policy Provisions and Principles

 5.1.    Assessment is a fundamental learning activity which engages students in tasks that test as well as develop and extend knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Assessment must be considered part of, and embedded within, learning. Assessment must provide reliable indicators of student learning and achievement and be appropriate for the mode of delivery.  

 5.2.    The method and focus of each assessment item must align with the learning outcomes of a course.

 5.3.    Quality assurance processes, including the peer review of the content and design of assessment materials and the moderation of course marking, provide evidence of the validity and quality of assessment practices.

 5.4.    Assessments in core and compulsory courses within a program should be mapped to enable student assessment workload planning and the coordinated embedding of graduate outcomes across courses.

 5.5.    Assessment weightings should reflect the demands and relative importance of an assessment item, and the overall assessment load in a course should reflect the unit value of that course.

 5.6.    A variety of assessment methods should be used to engage students and accommodate diverse learning preferences.

 5.7.    Courses should use an appropriate number of assessment items.

 5.8.    Students have differing levels of experience and expertise in learning and assessment and therefore require full explanations of the methods and types of assessment used in the field of study prior to major or summative assessment.

 5.9.    Student performance must be measured against pre-advised criteria. This assists with consistency in marking and feedback, by clarifying the requirements for all students and the markers for a course. Norm based marking is not utilised.

5.10.  Feedback should:

5.10.1.   be in constructive and supportive language;

5.10.2.   inform students of those areas where they performed well and where improvements can be made; and

5.10.3.   be provided in accordance with the Course Management and Assessment Policy and Procedure Manual.

6.      Essential Supporting Procedures

Academic Senate is authorised to develop and approve procedures to support this policy and to provide processes to be followed by officers authorised to act by the Rules Governing Courses and Assessment.

Following establishment of the supporting procedures by Academic Senate, the President of Academic Senate is authorised to amend the supporting procedures, following appropriate consultation with stakeholders. This may include the creation, amendment or rescission of a clause or clauses. 

Any such amendments will be reported to the next meeting of Academic Senate.

7.     Relaxing Provision

7.1.    To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case, the President of Academic Senate on the recommendation of the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor(s) may relax any provision of this policy unless otherwise specified in the overarching Rules Governing Courses and Assessment.

8.      Related Documents

Rules Governing Courses and Assessment 000993

Course Management Policy 000994 

Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual 000996   

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved19 September 2012
Date for Review19 September 2015
Policy SponsorAcademic Senate
Policy OwnerPro Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Policy ContactAcademic Registrar
Amendment History

18 October 2012 - approved by President of Academic Senate under delegation UB1 and reported to Senate meeting 7 November 2012

19 September 2012 - endorsed by Academic Senate subject to minor amendments.