Effective assessment provides a framework for students to demonstrate their understanding of subject content while engaging their intellectual capabilities. Given the power of assessment, we need to make sure key concepts, knowledge and skills are assessed and that assessment tasks promote learning.

Click the headings below to expand on these concepts:


Developing an assessment strategy

The University Assessment Policy requires that assessment tasks form an "interlinked, constructive, organised and coherent sequence", whose logic is clear to your students. You should:

  • include at least two and no more than three significant pieces of assessment
  • address all of the Subject Intended Learning Outcomes (SILOs) across the assessment regime
  • assess elements of La Trobe University essentials or work-ready skills (and Course Design Procedure - Graduate Capabilities, if relevant)
  • include a low-stakes (i.e. low percentage) task to check student’s understanding of the content within the first four weeks of semester
  • include opportunities for self/peer-assessment
  • maximise opportunities for formative feedback (e.g. by dividing a larger task into smaller stages)
  • assess student work using clearly defined criteria and standards and make these available to students.

Designing assessment tasks

Each of your assessment tasks should:

  • have a clearly defined role in the assessment strategy
  • be clearly and explicitly aligned with the course content and SILOs
  • engage students in productive learning
  • be at an appropriate level of complexity for the year level
  • have a weighting that reflects the workload and complexity of the task according to the Assessment Standards (maximum 60%)
  • provide statements with realistic opportunities to demonstrate Learning Outcomes
  • be validated according to the Assessment Procedure - Validation and Moderation.

Providing clear instructions

To prevent confusion, ensure that:

  • the task is explicitly linked to the SILOs (and Graduate Capabilities, if relevant)
  • due dates are clearly stated (and the university-wide submission time of 11.59 pm)
  • standards for the assignment are explained
  • a clear rationale for the task is provided
  • a brief (one or two sentence) description of the task is presented separately to more detailed information (e.g. step-by-step instructions about how to complete the task)
  • group assessment tasks include a clear statement about which elements of the tasks should be completed individually & which are group activities (note that the Assessment Standards include requirements for group assessment tasks worth 50% or more).

Ensuring reliability in marking

The Assessment Procedure - Validation and Moderation requires all subjects to include procedures for ensuring reliability and fairness in marking through some form of moderation of marking and that these be applied to tasks that make up at least 60% of all tasks for the subject.

This can be through including a second examiner review for assessments or pre-assessment grading training for the teaching team marking assessments

This can take place before, during and/or after the marking process.

Where to from here?

If you would like a consultation or request a workshop, please contact