As previously advised on Teche, a new assessment policy is set to launch on 1 July 2021. A number of policies have been merged to a new assessment policy and accompanying procedures. The new policy will apply to assessments offered in Session 2 2021.

This the first in a series of posts that will provide guidance notes to each of the changes. The first one gaining attention is the changes to group work.

Policy changes

The change includes a shift from applying weighting limits on group marking from the task level to the unit level.

a) The removal of the previous requirement that each group work task was to have an individual component (Old policy: “At least 50% of group work assessment shall be allocated to individual performance”).

AND

b) The introduction of a new clause (25) in the assessment procedure that states at least seventy per cent (70%) of the total available mark for a *unit* must be attributable to individual student performance. This means that group task component(s) weighted 30% or less of a *unit* can be assessed as a group and assigned a group mark. Group work that is weighted at more then 30% a unit will need to have a portion of marks attributable to individual performance such that no more than 30% of the unit total is comprised of a ‘group mark’.

What staff need to do to get ready

The strategy depends on the current status of group work in a unit. Check your group assessments and adjust accordingly.

a) If a unit had a group work component(s) that are 60% or less of a unit AND half (or more) of the marks in that group task was attributed to individuals, then this will still be compliant with the new policy. This is because a total of no more than 30% ‘group mark’ is to be maintained at the unit level.

OR

b) If a unit had a group work component(s) that was greater than 60% of the unit grade then this may no longer be compliant, depending on the split of group and individual mark components within that task. In this case the weighting of group and individual marks may need to be changed to ensure no more than 30% of the unit total is a group mark.

Defining a ‘group mark’

For the purposes of this policy, a ‘group mark’ will include assessment designs where a) all members in a group receive the same grade, or b) where the initial group mark determined by an assessor based on a group submission may be adjusted for individuals based on the outcomes of a structured and moderated peer evaluation of each team member’s effort or input.

Advice – designing group work assessment

This is a good opportunity to revisit the design of group work in a unit.

In both of the cases outlined above, consider how you can help students undertake group work more effectively by explicitly providing support and resources for working in teams (e.g. clearly defining roles, responsibilities, expectations, staged deadlines for team members to meet, regularly minuted team meetings etc), actively motioning student groups and using peer evaluation of their input. Let students know they can raise concerns about group work early with you for timely resolution assistance. Some resources on designing, supporting and running group work assessment are provided below.

Be sure each assessment task is correctly specified in the CMS as ‘individual’ or ‘individual and group’, with correct weighting applied and task time specified. Don’t leave these field blank, don’t just use the ‘defaults’ and do not lump all assessments into one descriptor! (100%).

Consider how you can leverage iLearn tools to help manage group assessment. Did you know there is a ‘Team Evaluation’ feature in iLearn? – See the resources below to find out more.

Resources

Designing group assessment

Supporting students in group work

iLearn guides

Posted by Mathew Hillier

Mathew has been engaged by Macquarie University as an e-Assessment Academic in residence and is available to answer questions by MQ staff. Mathew specialises in Digital Assessment (e-Assessment) in Higher Education. Has held positions as an advisor and academic developer at University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Monash University and University of Adelaide. He has also held academic teaching roles in areas such as business information systems, multimedia arts and engineering project management. Mathew recently led a half million dollar Federal government funded grant on e-Exams across ten university partners and is co-chair of the international 'Transforming Assessment' webinar series as the e-Assessment special interest group under the Australasian society for computers in learning in tertiary education. He is an honorary academic University of Queensland, Monash University and an adjunct academic at University of Tasmania.

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