Academic Policy Suite Update

Andrea ChesterUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Please see this update below from the DVCE.

The Policy framework manages the development and maintenance of a robust and responsive framework that aligns with the RMIT Group’s practices and strategic objectives. It consists of policies, processes and guidelines that support RMIT strategy and values.

All Academic policies are approved by Academic Board. Minor amendments to these policies are approved by the Chair of Academic Board on the advice of the DVCE. Academic policies are owned by the DVCE and delegated to the Academic Registrar’s Group for operational facilitation.

Revised Academic Policy suite – launched December 2017

The revised Academic Policy suite was complete and launched in December 2017, effective January 2018. As part of implementation, ARG has provided stakeholders with a series of policy workshops that provide operational support on the changes and improvements. The workshops provide a forum for discussion on current practice and have been received very positively.

These discussions have informed a series of minor policy changes that have been approved by the Chair, Academic Board in Q1. Widespread communication have supported these changes. An overview of the approved minor changes is as follows:

1. Assessment and assessment flexibility policy
Some text relating to responsibilities in assessment (sections 4.2-4.6) was identified as missing from the current web version. These provisions were not intentionally removed and it was agreed that they should be reinstated:

Amendment to paragraph 5.3.1 (new text in red):

5.3.1 Special consideration is available for unexpected circumstances outside students’ control. These include but are not limited to unexpected short-term ill-health, and unavoidable family, work, cultural or religious commitments.

Reason: The grounds previously stated for future assessment adjustments needed to be captured in the grounds for special consideration.

Some minor wording changes to paragraphs 5.3.6 and 5.3.7 for consistency and clarity.

2. Admission and credit policy
Paragraph 3.1 to be amended to allow for the DVCE to approve variations to the English language entry requirements, for consistency as the DVCE already approves the minimum standards.

Paragraph 3.2 to be amended to allow for the DVC(R&I) to approve variations to the English language entry requirements for higher degree by research programs.

Paragraph 22 to be amended to require a student to seek a review of a credit decision first, before an appeal can be lodged. This is normal process and consistent with other policy/process areas.

3. Program and course policy
Current policy requires that changes to award titles are approved by Academic Board on the recommendation of the DVCE. The policy to be amended so that approval of proposals to change award titles sits with the DVCE and is then noted by Academic Board.

4. Conferral and graduation policy
1.2 Title change: Dean, Graduate School of Research changed to Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Training Development.

The ability to appeal to a College Appeals Committee against a decision relating to completion was a new initiative which was introduced by this policy. Such matters are more effectively addressed at program and school level: opportunities are available for students to seek a review of decisions within the school. There remains the ability for students to seek formal review of assessment results and applications for credit through the College Appeals processes and then to escalate to University Appeals if required.

Paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 referring to College Appeals to be removed from the review process in the Conferral and graduation Policy.

5. Assessment processes
Concerns were repeatedly raised by schools that they were unable to meet some requirements of the Assessment processes within the required timeframe. Concern was expressed with regard to the inclusion of requirements in the processes that could not be met and the potential consequences of student appeals and complaints.

ARG is currently working with stakeholders to accommodate operational considerations in this space. An overview of amendments being worked through is provided as follows:

1.1 “The proportion of non-invigilated online tests and/or exams in a course must not exceed 20% of the weighting of assessment tasks towards the final course grade.” It was acknowledged that this provision was inappropriate in cases such as online delivery and that an exception should be made.

1.6.1 A requirement was introduced that, where an assessment is graded and contributes 20% or more to the total course mark, the assessment criteria will take the form of a rubric. In February 2018, in response to many schools indicating that they were unable to meet this requirement given the imminent commencement of classes, the Assessment processes were amended to indicate that this requirement was in transition and would be fully in effect by semester 1 2019.

1.8-1.17 Group work While there was broad support from school and college staff for the intent of most of the group work provisions, concerns were raised regarding the inclusion of requirements in the processes that are largely aspirational and would require resourcing to be found and staff training to be provided before they could be implemented.

Wording of these sections is currently being revised to clarify that they are currently (and temporarily) aspirational and to specify a timeframe for implementation.

ARG has developed an Assessment Policy suite task force to conduct a post-implementation review of the Assessment policy suite, commencing in June 2018. The group will consider issues identified regarding group work provisions, academic integrity, plagiarism and contract cheating.

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