Assessment, Teaching and Learning Policy
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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope
(1) This Policy:
- articulates the principles that underpin the University’s approach to teaching and assessment of student learning; and
- supports compliance with relevant regulatory frameworks, including the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 and the Australian Qualifications Framework.
(2) This Policy applies to assessment, teaching and student learning in the context of all award and non-award coursework units delivered by or on behalf of the University.
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Section 2 - Definitions
(3) The Definitions (Academic) Policy applies to this Policy.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement
(4) The primary purpose of assessment is the systemic assurance of a student’s attainment of intended learning outcomes. The University applies and upholds the following Assessment Principles and Teaching and Learning Principles.
(5) Consistent with these principles, and the principles set out in the Academic Quality, Standards and Integrity Policy, the University supports the use of technology (including generative artificial intelligence technology) in teaching, assessment and learning provided that its use:
- does not compromise achievement or assurance of learning outcomes;
- does not contravene any explicitly stated requirements for a learning activity or assessment task;
- does not contravene professional standards or requirements set by external accrediting bodies; and
- is represented or acknowledged in a way that is consistent with the values of academic integrity.
Part A - Assessment Principles
(6) Assessment is designed and developed to monitor, assess and support student progress in accordance with the following principles:
- Assessment Principle 1: Assessment is designed for student learning, engagement and success.
- Assessment Principle 2: Assessment is designed for the attainment of learning outcomes.
- Assessment Principle 3: Assessment is fit for purpose and relevant to students.
- Assessment Principle 4: Assessment is inclusive, fair, transparent and equitable.
- Assessment Principle 5: Assessment incorporates timely, clear and constructive feedback.
- Assessment Principle 6: Assessment maintains academic standards, assuring quality learning.
Assessment Principle 1: Assessment is designed for student learning, engagement and success.
(7) Our assessment:
- Engages and motivates students' learning across the course progression;
- Facilitates students' induction into higher education and the principles of academic integrity;
- Builds a future-focused foundation for lifelong learning; and
- Is appropriate in volume and workload, manageable for both students and staff.
Assessment Principle 2: Assessment is designed for the attainment of learning outcomes.
(8) Our assessment design:
- Takes a whole-of-course approach;
- Aligns with course and unit learning outcomes, study content and learning activities, in accordance with the Curriculum Policy;
- Is appropriately scaffolded and interlinked across both units and courses; and
- Is aligned with professional accreditation and expectations where appropriate.
Assessment Principle 3: Assessment is fit for purpose and relevant to students.
(9) Our assessment is:
- Fit for purpose in the Southern Cross Model, relevant to students and their educational and/or professional goals.
- Designed specifically for the teaching period in which units are offered;
- Evaluated across the unit of study, rather than through a single, final assessment task; and
- Designed using practice-based and/or authentic tasks, and relevant to students' career or further study aspirations.
Assessment Principle 4: Assessment is inclusive, fair, transparent and equitable.
(10) Our assessment is:
- Inclusive, designed for all students, irrespective of their educational background, entry pathway, mode or place of study;
- Cognisant of student diversity, learners’ needs and multiple ways of knowing;
- Evaluated on the basis of students' achievement against clear criteria, rubrics and standards;
- Designed to minimise complexity and confusion; and
- Written in simple, clear and plain English.
Assessment Principle 5: Assessment incorporates timely, clear and constructive feedback.
(11) Our assessment feedback is:
- Timely, clear, and directly relevant to the assessment task, criteria and purpose;
- Based on structured rubrics and clear grading standards, guiding students to accurately appreciate the quality of their learning; and
- Constructive, formative and respectful, taking a strengths-based approach focused on future learning.
Assessment Principle 6: Assessment maintains academic standards, assuring quality learning.
(12) Our assessment is:
- Designed by academics with contemporary skills and expertise in curriculum design, teaching and learning principles, and disciplinary knowledge, and where relevant, industry or professional skills;
- Peer reviewed in line with the Assessment Principles, to ensure quality in design, implementation and against academic standards;
- Developed against academic, quality and grading standards, and is continuously improved and updated;
- Benchmarked to ensure consistency with the level of qualification awarded; and
- Built on a foundation of professional learning and contemporary assessment practice and drawing from a range of assessment methods.
Part B - Teaching and Learning Principles
(13) Teaching is designed and practised to support learning according to the following principles:
- Teaching and Learning Principle 1: Learning is supported through a culture of respect, enquiry and dialogue.
- Teaching and Learning Principle 2: Learning is supported by recognising and broadening students’ beliefs and knowledge.
- Teaching and Learning Principle 3: Learning is supported by a consistent teaching delivery approach across the University.
- Teaching and Learning Principle 4: Learning is supported through quality learning tasks.
- Teaching and Learning Principle 5: Learning is supported by readily available, high quality learning materials and resources.
- Teaching and Learning Principle 6: Learning is supported through quality teaching practice which is informed by research, feedback and reflection.
Teaching and Learning Principle 1: Learning is supported through a culture of respect, enquiry and dialogue.
(14) Our teaching:
- Promotes the University’s values, as well as a culture of respect, enquiry and dialogue;
- Promotes culturally safe spaces for developing knowledge;
- Acknowledges that making mistakes is important in the learning process, for staff and students alike; and
- Fosters teaching presence of both staff and student peers.
Teaching and Learning Principle 2: Learning is supported by recognising and broadening students’ beliefs and knowledge.
(15) Our teaching:
- Promotes students’ sense of responsibility for and agency over their learning;
- Builds from students' experiences, but also helps them to critically reflect upon understandings, beliefs and assumptions;
- Promotes students adding to, questioning or even breaking out of old habits and ways of thinking about knowledge, skills and about learning itself; and
- Promotes life-long learning and supports the fulfilment of students' potential.
Teaching and Learning Principle 3: Learning is supported by a consistent teaching delivery approach across the University.
(16) Our teaching is:
- Learning-centred, consisting of a combination of self-access learning and class learning that provide equivalent learning experiences for all students, regardless of mode or location of study;
- Delivered through self-access learning, which consists of on-demand, self-paced, media-rich, interactive and responsive modules that provide automated feedback to students;
- Complemented by class learning, which consists of carefully planned, scheduled, interactive learning experiences that move beyond first exposure to new knowledge and skills and place greater emphasis on active-learning such as application, problem-solving, critiquing, simulating, group inquiry and creating; and
- Cognisant that experiential learning, including placements and work-integrated learning, are best developed through individual units at the Faculty level.
Teaching and Learning Principle 4: Learning is supported through quality learning tasks.
(17) Our teaching:
- Promotes student success through quality learning tasks that are clearly articulated, align with unit learning outcomes and are engaging;
- Employs an appropriately sequenced, guided, active and interactive learning experience;
- Promotes meaningful engagement with issues, theories and challenges that are relevant to and broaden students’ futures; and
- Employs feedback that is timely, clear, constructive, strengths-based and respectful.
Teaching and Learning Principle 5: Learning is supported by readily available, high quality learning materials and resources.
(18) Our teaching:
- Emphasises the design and curation of quality, purpose-developed materials for self-access learning, supported through Centre for Teaching and Learning learning guides and best practice examples on media rich, Interactive Learning Environment (ILEs); and
- Is supported by Centre for Teaching and Learning guides and best practice class plan examples.
Teaching and Learning Principle 6: Learning is supported through quality teaching practice which is informed by research, feedback and reflection.
(19) Our teaching is:
- Conducted by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, as outlined in the Academic Quality, Standards and Integrity Policy;
- Informed by evidence, drawing on studies of success;
- Improved by feedback on our work from students and peers; and
- Continuously informed and enhanced by our own professional development, reflective practice and research: we are responsible for our own life-long learning.