Context > Overall program

Learners experience units as part of an overall course. In some instances, this is a set and structured progression through an overall program of study; for others, units may be taken in multiple ways to form a course. Framing assessment takes account of where students have come from (e.g. prerequisite subjects, ‘final year’ or placements), and where they may proceed next. All units can be viewed as being part of a larger whole, although it is most obvious with respect to core unit assessments, which must be successfully completed by students in order to progress or complete the course. Assessments may be repetitive in their requirements or can cluster within a semester if care is not taken to communicate within the program. Thinking about building assessments upon previous units’ work may be useful. This can be both with respect to content, but also with process. For example, if peer feedback is introduced across a program, learners will be more familiar with it overall.

Assessment considerations:

  • How do learners experience your unit within their overall program experiences?
  • What are the formal and informal methods of communication with other unit teachers and administrators about assessment?
  • How and when do you learn about assessment tasks and schedules of other common units?
  • Are you able to fully describe the skills and knowledge that learners require coming into your unit and those that they require on successful completion?
  • If relevant, how do you manage professional or external requirements (e.g. meeting professional body standards) across the unit?
  • What are the implications if learners do not attain the skills and knowledge to appropriate levels, both for their future learning and for progression?

Also refer to:

Context > Characteristics of enrolled students

Outcomes > Overall program learning outcomes

Outcomes > Professional requirements

Outcomes > Learner development

Educator experiences

Looking for the wider picture

Everybody who’s involved in the program needs to sit down together – and that never happens in terms of planning coherence across assignments. You know if we really want to test a particular understanding – for example, students’ lesson planning ability – they don’t need to do lesson plans in every subject. It doesn’t really serve a purpose except “busy work”, and a lot of hard work to mark. Nor do they need to write essays in every subject to demonstrate their ability to write an essay. There’re other reasons to have them write an essay, of course, but I just think that it would be nice if we looked at the wider picture. So, if they’re doing an essay in that subject this semester, they shouldn’t do an essay in that other subject this semester, because all four subjects shouldn’t give essays. – Education lecturer

Management committees

We have a second-year management committee. So, they have three core units in semester one, and three core units in semester two, and we meet about four times a year, usually pre-semester, post-semester and pre-semester, post-semester. And it tends to just be, “How are you going? When are your major assessments?” So, we make sure we line them up. That’s the really big thing, we make sure we line up the assessments so they don’t all have a mid-semester test in that week. You know, so they’re staggered out. Otherwise we would just get 250 complaints. – Science lecturer

External requirements across the entire program

We’ve got an online repository that we have just put together. Whenever anything is dumped onto the repository, if it’s an assessment task, it needs to be matched to the professional association competencies so that next time we have to do accreditation, our Information Technology team can just do me a spreadsheet and show me all the assessment tasks that have unit five competencies that matches the professional association requirements. – Health professional educator