UOW Assessment & Feedback Principles



Assessment is critical to the learning and teaching cycle. It involves processes and tasks that, in dialogue with teaching staff and peers, are fundamental to enabling students to develop and demonstrate their learning, to build their capacity to become confident, capable, self-regulating, life-long learners.


Assessment tasks and processes fulfil three key roles in student learning:
  • facilitate student capacity to meet learning outcomes (formative);
  • develop student ability to become confident self-evaluators (sustainable assessment literacy);
  • provide evidence of achievement of learning outcomes (summative).
In complex assessment tasks these roles may overlap.




Good assessment design is a whole of course task that requires: 
  • planning and systematic development by course teams;
  • explicit alignment with course and subject learning outcomes; and
  • focus on scaffolding and integrating learning, especially at key points throughout the course.



Course assessment design will have an appropriate balance of summative and formative assessment tasks:
  • Formative assessment and learning tasks - that engage students in productive opportunities to apply knowledge and skills and gain feedback in a timely, constructive manner in order to support the students’ continuous development.
  • Assessment tasks - early in a degree program will introduce students to important assessment skills and literacies.
  • Summative tasks - assessment of learning for the purposes of assuring progress at key points in the course or for the purpose of warranting/confirming that learning outcomes have been met will be kept to the minimum necessary for that purpose
  • Summative tasks - should mirror, complement or build on formative tasks to ensure student learning. 


Engaged feedback:

Assessment will involve an engaged process that begins with clearly articulated task guidelines and criteria but should extend to active discussion that facilitates students taking ownership of criteria and standards for their assessment. Post-task feedback continues this dialogue on the page or screen but should be extended through discussion, opportunities for peer assessment and sharing and individual consultations (where needed or requested). Tasks and feedback loops must be timed to ensure sufficient opportunities are provided to put the feedback into practice.

Designed for learning:

Whether formative or summative, assessment tasks will be designed to enable student learning. Tasks should have a positive impact on student behaviour – when, how and why they study – and build an approach that develops sustained and self-regulated learning. Good assessment design ensures:
  • Authenticity - focusing on intellectually challenging ‘real-world’ practices through enquiry-based processes.
  • Validity - carefully and explicitly assessing whether the intended learning outcomes are being addressed.
  • Equity - tasks should be designed having regard for the diversity of students including backgrounds, experiences and learning styles.
  • Relevance - tasks with a sense of purpose that meet the student’s interests allowing for individual choice of task should be considered.
  • Integrity - tasks should introduce and engage students in ethical research and communication practices.
  • Transparency - tasks should be clearly articulated and performance standards made explicit through a marking rubric or other instrument made available when the assignment is set.
  • Appropriate effort - tasks need to be intellectually challenging and enable students’ learning without placing undue burdens on either staff or student workloads. 


Quality assured:

Course convenors and subject co-ordinators will ensure assessment is:
  • Consistent - referenced to agreed assessment rubrics and
  • Moderated and calibrated - grading decisions are between markers.
  • Reviewed - to ensure continuous, incremental improvement of assessment tasks through listening to student feedback.   



 The UOW Assessment & Feedback Principles were endorsed by the University Education Committee (UEC) on 18 March 2015 and Academic Senate on 29 April 2015.


Last reviewed: 11 June, 2015