The changes to supplementary assessment are founded on a fundamental change to the rationale for having supplementary assessment at ACU.
Under the old policy supplementary assessment was for the last 80 credit points of course and the rationale was, it was the students to transition into the workplace. That rationale has been reassessed and it has now been decided that supplementary assessment is for course completion and to support student learning and is now available from the beginning of a student's course.
The range of grades to be eligible for supplementary assessment has change from 40 to 49, to 45 to 49. The point with this however, is that supplementary assessment isn't necessarily the students who have just failed to meet a learning outcome but rather is more for students where it can't be decided whether the student has achieved all the learning outcome for a unit or not. These are the only students who should receive a supplementary assessment and this is the only time when a fail grade should be converted to an NF grade which then leads on to a supplementary assessment.
Supplementary assessment should be given sparingly. It has been found that in the first semester 2015, out of more than 900 supplementary assessments that were given to students, less than 15% were converted into passes. This means that supplementary assessment does not necessarily provide the kind of support to student learning that we might think.
The vast majority of students who fail a supplementary assessment, re-enrolled the following semester in the same unit. We need to be very careful to make sure that we are in fact supporting our students learning and that we use a professional judgement to make the decision as to whether or not the student has passed or failed.
I don't believe it is a great deal of benefit to students to put them through the supplementary assessment process when they have no chance of achieving a pass in the first place.
There may be cases where there are extenuating circumstances for a student that cannot be captured by guidelines or by policy. In that case what the university has done is given responsibility to the course coordinator to see how many supplementary assessments have been granted to any student in a semester and make their own enquiries as to what the circumstances may be if a student has been granted more than one.
It may just be that a student, who is an otherwise excellent student, has had some kind of accident or misadventure. In that case they should be given a supplementary assessment or a supplementary assessment in all the units that are affected.
On the other hand, it may be very clear but a student has not been attentive to their studies at all over the semester and should not be given a supplementary assessment at all. These decisions that can only be made using the professional judgement of the course coordinator in consultation with the lecturer in charge.