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Assessment (VET and Foundation) Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy outlines the framework for assessment of VET, Foundation and Senior Secondary programs undertaken by and on behalf of Melbourne Polytechnic. It also identifies responsibilities and accountabilities for effective implementation.

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Section 2 - Scope

(2) The policy applies to all learners, staff, contractors and third parties associated with assessment (including Recognition of Prior Learning) of VET, Foundation and Senior Secondary programs being undertaken by or on behalf of Melbourne Polytechnic, locally and internationally.

(3) The Policy does not apply to Institute Accredited Courses (IACs) or Higher Education programs.

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Section 3 - Policy

Policy Statement

(4) Melbourne Polytechnic is committed to quality assessment practices that provide confidence to learners, industry and the community that its graduates have met the standards specified in the learning programs it delivers. Learners are supported through active learning and ongoing feedback to achieve these standards and to equip them to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Policy Principles

(5) Assessment aligns with Melbourne Polytechnic’s Vision and Education Strategy and will be guided by the following principles:

  1. Assessment is valid, reliable, flexible and fair;
  2. Assessment evidence is valid, sufficient, authentic and current;
  3. Assessment is clearly connected with the knowledge and skills being evaluated;
  4. Assessment supports continuous learning and is responsive to industry, community and learner needs;
  5. Learning programs support learners to be successful in their assessment;
  6. Assessment strategies, processes and tools meet all relevant regulatory, accreditation, registration and funding organisation requirements.

Policy Topics

Suitably Qualified and Competent Assessors

(6) Assessments must be conducted by assessors who meet the qualification, registration and competence requirements set by the regulatory, accreditation, registration and funding organisations relevant to the unit/module they are assessing.

Assessment Design

(7) A training and assessment strategy must be developed prior to delivery and assessment that considers:

  1. The characteristics of the cohort;
  2. The requirements of the course/unit/module;
  3. The most appropriate methods of assessment that will:
    1. Satisfy the requirements of the relevant regulator, accreditation, registration and/or funding organisation;
    2. Satisfy the requirements of the course/unit/module;
    3. Support learners to meet those requirements.

(8) Assessment tools must be designed that include:

  1. Assessment tasks relevant to the outcomes specified in the unit/module;
  2. Mapping that shows full coverage of unit/module requirements;
  3. Clear instructions for learners and assessors about the assessment context, task and conditions;
  4. Marking guides with clear criteria and/or sample answers/expected responses and the standard required to achieve a satisfactory result.

Provision of Accurate Information and Feedback

(9) Learners and employers of apprentices and trainees must be given clear and accurate information on assessment requirements and expectations. This includes providing:

  1. A Unit/Module Outline to learners at commencement of delivery that contains accurate and current information on its delivery and assessment;
  2. Clear Assessment Task Instructions to learners prior to each assessment;
  3. Marking Criteria to learners prior to each assessment that indicate the standard required to achieve a satisfactory outcome;
  4. A Training Plan to employers of apprentices and trainees at the commencement of the training contract that outlines expectations regarding workplace confirmation of performance as part of the assessment process.  

(10) Feedback must be provided:

  1. Regularly to learners throughout the teaching and learning cycle to support their learning progress;
  2. Regularly to employers of apprentices and trainees to discuss the learner’s progress against their Training Plan;  
  3. After each assessment to learners to enable them to understand their result and how their performance relates to unit/module requirements.

Continuous quality improvement

(11) Regular quality reviews of assessment strategies, processes and tools must be undertaken to ensure continuous quality improvement. This must include, but is not limited to:

  1. Where reasonably practicable, moderation during the assessment process to ensure marking guides and assessment criteria are being consistently applied across the cohort if there is more than one assessor involved;
  2. Validation of VET training products as outlined in the Validation (VET) Policy and Procedure;
  3. Participation in the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA’s) Quality Assurance processes for Senior Secondary programs;
  4. Regular Course reviews as outlined in the Course Review (VET and Foundation) Procedure (under development);
  5. Regular reviews of the assessment strategies, processes and tools being used by contractors and third parties undertaking assessment on behalf of Melbourne Polytechnic.

Assessment integrity

(12) All assessors are expected to act with integrity and exhibit fairness, impartiality, honesty and equity when undertaking assessment to ensure assessment processes remain valid, reliable, flexible and fair.

(13) All learners are expected to maintain integrity in the preparation and submission of work for assessment. Learners must attach a declaration confirming the authenticity of their work when submitting any assessment.

(14) Activities such as deliberate plagiarism, collusion and cheating must be addressed under the Student Discipline Policy.

Marking and results

(15) Results must be entered into Melbourne Polytechnic’s Student Management System (Strata) within 5 days of the unit/module end date using the approved result codes detailed in the Assessment (VET and Foundation) Procedure.

(16) For competency-based units:

  1. Assessment tasks must be marked as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Learners who satisfactorily complete all assessment tasks in a unit/module are to be resulted as competent for that unit/module;
  2. Units/modules in Certificates 1–IV must not be graded;
  3. Units/modules in Diploma and Advanced Diploma level courses may only be graded if:
    1. Prior approval has been granted by the Curriculum Board;
    2. The learner has already been assessed as competent in that unit/module.
  4. Learners must be able to access their results on a publicised date.
  5. Learners who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an assessment may request a re-assessment. This request must be made in writing to the Program Leader within 5 working days of the feedback/result.
  6. Learners who wish to dispute their result for a unit/module must lodge that dispute in writing to the Program Leader within 5 working days of the result release date.

Reasonable Adjustments, Extensions and Special Consideration

(17) Learners with a disability, long-term medical condition or other exceptional circumstance that impacts on their ability to perform in or undertake an assessment may request an alternative arrangement for their assessment. These alternative arrangements include:

  1. Reasonable adjustments, such as changes to the method or process of conducting the assessment;
  2. Extensions to the assessment due date for up to 10 days;
  3. Special consideration.

(18) The eligibility for each of these arrangements and process for making a request is outlined in the Guidelines for Learners Requesting Reasonable Adjustment, Extension and/or Special Consideration for Assessment (See Appendix A).

(19) Regardless of the alternative arrangement granted, the standard required to be assessed as satisfactory must remain the same as for other learners to ensure consistency and fairness in assessment decisions.

Complaints and appeals

(20) Learners with concerns regarding any assessment matter may raise the issue with their teacher, Lead Teacher or Program Leader.

(21) If they are unsatisfied with the assessment process or a decision relating to assessment, they may lodge a complaint or appeal using the Student Complaints and Appeals Policy.

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Section 4 - Responsibility and Accountability

(22) Directors VET and Foundation are accountable for:

  1. Ensuring the Assessment (VET and Foundation) Policy and Procedure are followed across all offerings.

(23) Teachers/Lead Teachers are responsible for:

  1. Contributing to training and assessment strategies;
  2. Maintaining assessment tools and developing and maintaining unit/module outlines;
  3. Providing assessment information to learners and employers of apprentices/trainees;
  4. Training and assessing as per the training and assessment strategy;
  5. Providing timely and meaningful feedback;
  6. Marking and resulting;
  7. Contributing to quality assurance and continuous improvement processes;
  8. Addressing requests for re-assessment and extensions to due dates.

(24) Program Leaders are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring all assessors are suitably qualified and vocationally and educationally competent;
  2. Developing and approving training and assessment strategies;
  3. Developing Training Plans with employers of apprentices and trainees;
  4. Addressing requests for re-assessment and special consideration;
  5. Contributing to quality assurance and continuous improvement processes.

(25) Department Managers are responsible for:

  1. Leading quality assurance and continuous improvement processes.
  2. Ensuring the Assessment (VET and Foundation) Policy and Procedure are followed across all offerings.

(26) The Director International Academic Operations is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring all contracts with international partners clearly outline Melbourne Polytechnic’s requirements for quality assessment as outlined in this Policy and its associated Procedures;
  2. Ensuring all relevant international programs and international partners follow the Assessment (VET and Foundation) Policy and Procedure.

(27) The Head Educational Quality and Accreditation is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring quality processes are in place for all VET and Foundation delivery;
  2. Providing quality expertise regarding VET and Foundation assessment;
  3. Contributing to continuous quality improvement processes.

(28) The Curriculum Unit is responsible for:

  1. Setting the standard for assessment design and development across VET and Foundation Directorates;
  2. Working collaboratively with teaching areas to develop quality assessment tools for identified and approved course design and development projects.

(29) The Professional Teaching Practice Unit is responsible for:

  1. Providing professional learning to build staff expertise in implementing quality assessment.

(30) The Vocational Education Board and Foundation Boards are responsible for:

  1. Monitoring the quality, availability and application of suitably qualified and competent assessors;
  2. Assuring there is evidence of training and assessment consistent with course and regulatory/accreditation and funding organisation requirements;
  3. Initiating and overseeing progress and outcomes of quality improvement activities;
  4. Reviewing the performance of this Policy and its associated Procedure in their area of operation.

(31) The Advancement of Learning and Teaching Quality Committee is responsible for:

  1. Monitoring, advising and making recommendations to the Executive Leadership Committee on improvements in assessment approaches and academic integrity;
  2. Promoting innovation in assessment and sharing good practice and research on current trends across Melbourne Polytechnic.

(32) The Curriculum Board is responsible for:

  1. Monitoring the process and outcomes of course development and reviews, including training and assessment strategies and assessment materials for relevant courses;
  2. Receiving and reviewing reports regarding learner experience and outcomes arising from the impact of assessment design;
  3. Approving units/modules for graded assessment.

(33) The Education Quality Committee is responsible for:

  1. Monitoring implementation of this Policy and its associated Procedure and reporting on this to the Melbourne Polytechnic Board.
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Section 5 - Supporting Documents and Templates

(34) Related Melbourne Polytechnic policies and procedures:

  1. Guidelines for Learners Requesting Reasonable Adjustment, Extension and/or Special Consideration for Assessment (See Appendix A)
  2. Student Complaints and Appeals Policy
  3. Student Complaints and Appeals Procedure
  4. Student Discipline Policy
  5. Supporting Students with Disabilities Policy
  6. Assessment Validation (VET and Foundation) Policy
  7. Assessment Validation (VET and Foundation) Procedure

(35)  Related Legislation and Regulation

  1. ASQA’s VET Quality Framework
  2. Australian Qualifications Framework
  3. Guidelines for Non-school Senior Secondary Education Providers: Minimum Standards for Registration to Provide an Accredited Senior Secondary Course 
  4. Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  5. Users Guide to the Standards for RTOs 2015
  6. VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2021
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Section 6 - Definitions

(36) For the purpose of this policy the following definitions apply:

  1. Academic Integrity: Teachers, assessors and learners acting with honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility;
  2. Alternative arrangement/assessment: A different arrangement for assessment that has been approved as a result of the learner being granted reasonable adjustment, special consideration or an extension to the due date for their assessment.
  3. Assessment: The process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether unit/module requirements been achieved;
  4. Assessment Tool: The full set of assessment documents for a unit/module, including the assessment tasks, mapping, instructions for learners and assessors, and marking guides;
  5. Assessor: A person who assesses whether the learner has met the requirements of the assessment task and/or unit/module;
  6. Authentic evidence: The assessment evidence is the learner’s own work;
  7. Cheating: Behaviour by a learner, or another person on behalf of a learner, to provide that learner or group of learners with an academic advantage, such as completing work on behalf of a learner, copying another person’s work or paying another person to prepare an assignment;
  8. Collusion: An agreement between a learner and another person to act together secretly or without permission to achieve an unfair advantage, such as sharing answers with others or working together on an assignment that is supposed to be completed individually;
  9. Competency: The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments;
  10. Current evidence: The assessment evidence is from the present or very recent past.
  11. Extension: Additional time granted to complete an assessment;
  12. Fair assessment: The individual learner’s needs are considered in the assessment process;
  13. Flexible assessment: Assessment is flexible to the learner by reflecting the learner’s needs; assessing competencies held by the learner no matter how or where they have been acquired; drawing from a range of assessment methods; and using those that are appropriate to the context, the unit/module, the associated assessment requirements and the individual;
  14. Moderation: A quality control process aimed at ensuring assessment criteria are being consistently applied when more than one assessor is involved in assessing the same task across a cohort of learners. It is generally conducted before finalising learner results;
  15. Plagiarism: The use of all or part of another person or entity’s work without appropriate acknowledgment of the author or source;
  16. Re-assessment: To review a piece of work and confirm or amend the result. This may arise where a learner believes the assessment result is inappropriate or unfair. It may also occur where there are circumstances identified or additional information provided that affected a learners’ performance in the assessment;
  17. Reasonable adjustment: A measure or action taken to assist a learner with a disability or long-term medical condition to take part in their education on the same basis as their peers without disability or long-term condition. Reasonable adjustments may include but are not limited to note taking support, extra time or extensions and alternative assessment tasks;
  18. Reliable assessment: Evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and assessment results are comparable irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment;
  19. Senior secondary programs: Year 11 and 12 courses of study accredited by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority;
  20. Special consideration: Consideration provided to a learner who has provided independently verifiable evidence of having been hampered by illness or other cause during the teaching period or assessment that has affected their capacity to prepare, present or perform any component of an assessment;
  21. Sufficient evidence: The quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence enables a judgement to be made about whether the learner has met the requirements;
  22. Unit outline: Details delivery and assessment requirements for the unit/module;
  23. Valid assessment: The assessment decision is justified based on the evidence of performance. This requires assessment against the unit/module outcomes, assessment of knowledge integrated with practical application, evidence that shows the learner could demonstrate their knowledge and skills in other similar situations, and that the judgement is based on evidence that is aligned to the unit/module assessment requirements;
  24. Valid evidence: The evidence presented assures the assessor that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes as described in the unit/module and associated assessment requirements;
  25. Validation: A quality review of the assessment process for VET accredited training products. It involves checking that the assessment tool produces valid, reliable, sufficient, current and authentic evidence to enable reasonable judgements to be made as to whether the requirements of the training product are met. It includes reviewing a statistically valid sample of the assessments and making and implementing recommendations for future improvements.