Note of caution: It’s difficult to provide a generic answer to some assessment questions because every assessment scenario exists within a particular teaching context. Therefore, please exercise judgement and discretion when reading these FAQs and answers: you may need to adapt the answer to your context. If you have difficulty with that, please contact any of the following for further guidance:

Duncan Nulty

Joe Campana

Alison Owens

Georgia Clarkson

Vanessa (Ness) Fredericks

If you have a technical question, it’s better directed to Andrew Hill or Michael Sobek.


No, it’s optional at this time. The simplest action for you to take is to complete theModifications to Assessmentform. Provide this form to your Faculty Admin for inclusion in the next Faculty Board Meeting. Then, notify all students of the change(s) via an announcement through the unit’s LEO. Post the “Modifications to Assessment” form on the LEO in the same location as the EUO. The announcement must inform students that the assessments detailed in the “Modifications to Assessment” form are the new assessments, and that the information in the GUO and EUO are therefore no longer current. It will probably also be helpful to tell students that preparatory work they may already have undertaken for the assessments that have been superseded, is not wasted: they are still being assessed on the same learning outcomes.

Optionally: if you plan to make the changes to assessment permanent for all future offerings of the unit, you may take the appropriate steps to change the GUO and EUO. Bear in mind this will take longer, so it is not recommended at this time.

“In my unit there is already an exam. It’s got 20% for MCQ, 30% for short answer questions, and 50% for extended answers based on case studies. I plan to tell students that I will post this exam to LEO on a particular day and time instead of doing the exam in exam conditions at the uni. I will give students 4 hours to complete it and submit through LEO, instead of the 3 hours that I would have given them in a face-to-face setting. This compensates them for having to do the upload, and the “newness” of this way of delivering the exam. When I mark it, I will take into account the fact that this exam has become essentially an “open book” exam. Is this ok? What else do I have to do?”

Yes, this is perfectly acceptable. In addition, you should include at the start of the exam a statement for students to sign to say all the answers provided are their own, and they did not have help with the exam. You should note that students might do better on this exam than they normally would, particularly with the factual questions. However, (a) the factual questions only account for the minority of marks so there is little advantage, (b) it’s the same for all.

You could also consider using Turnitin – in which case let the students know.

Most changes to assessment are substantive. But, in each case, some judgement is required of you to answer this question. As a guide, any of the following would be a substantive change:

  • Changing the number of assessment tasks
  • Changing the weighting of assessment tasks
  • Changing the nature of the assessment tasks

Ask yourself what impact your changes will have on students – will it be trivial or not. If not, then it’s “substantive”.

The following would not be a “substantive change”

  • A written exam that was once face to face, being made available on a time-limited basis through LEO – but remaining as a written exam.

Regardless: be sure to complete theModifications to Assessmentform because it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Yes. Furthermore, it is likely to be appropriate that you do so. For example, if you are moving an exam from face-to-face to on-line, this gives students greater opportunity to ‘do better’ than they might have otherwise. This applies particularly to those components that are associated with the assessment of content knowledge. You might reasonably choose to reduce the overall percentage of marks associated with that component because this will help you maintain the validity of the assessments overall.

Be sure to complete theModifications to Assessmentform.

Yes. Furthermore, it is likely to be appropriate that you do so. To take account of the fact that students can access content knowledge, and/or their own notes while undertaking the exam, you might choose to re-author some of those assessment items to incorporate higher forms of knowledge. For example, original quiz questions that require students to select a purely factual answer could be replaced by quiz questions requiring students to select the answer that conveys an explanation / requires some degree of comprehension.

For example: when measuring radiation, the Geiger reading is taken over several minutes and averaged. This fact is a purely factual matter. However, the reason for this is that radiation occurs in bursts and therefore the average is a better measure (an explanation).

Note, it is possible to simply know both pieces of information in the example just given, but it’s less likely than simply knowing the first piece.

Another possibility:

Questions can be linked and nested to test for more than just content knowledge. e.g. a multi-part question might be:

  1. If the exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the American Dollar goes down, American goods become? ­­­­____ (more expensive) ___ for Australians.
  2. The consequence of this for the Australian balance of trade is likely to be ___ (greater exports, fewer imports) ___

    and …

  3. The numbers of Australians taking holidays overseas would likely ___ (decline) ___.

For occasions when we HAVE TO have students demonstrating skills (i.e. - when LOs specify “Implement teaching strategies”) I am considering asking students to video themselves. What is the technical recommendation for students submitting these? i.e., when video files are too large for normal LEO submission?

Advice from Andrew Hill and Michael Sobek:

The My Media link from the LEO Navigation block enables large video files to be uploaded to a ‘streaming’ server and shared via a link. The My Media server can process all media types and recognises the device it is playing to and provide the optimal format for viewing.

Students can easily record themselves using their phones and tablets (e.g., iPads) then upload those via Kaltura (Kaltura = “My Media”). If you set up Moodle Assignments for students in your unit, they can submit their videos that way

Here’s the LEO Guide for creating assignments for videos:

To download Echo

What about group assessments designed to take advantage of face-to-face conditions? I am wondering how to best 'move' a group presentation online. I am considering asking them to do a written assessment task instead to keep it simple! 

How best to move a group presentation online is a difficult one to recommend, but the LTI (External tools activity in LEO) allows students to host and record a group presentation – together/apart in Adobe Connect. Why am I reticent to offer this solution? Low digital literacy and high levels of support are often required for upskilling. However, if you want an authentic assessment, perhaps these are the skills our graduates should have, and something we need to work towards using.

Duncan Nulty says: Your proposal to ask them to do a written assignment does have some merit – but, there are two questions to ask first: (1) Is there an LO in the unit which requires you to make an assessment of students ability to function in a group? If yes, (2) Would the written assignment be a valid assessment of their ability to function in a group? If yes, ok, if no, can you think of another way to assess the groupwork? (e.g. an oral viva with the group may be sufficient – particularly if combined with a written assignment.

Does a shift to online present questions about the suitability and appropriateness of group work and its presentation to assessors and peers.

Probably not. It is more likely that these questions were present already. However, a move to online does raise a question about how to enact group assessment on-line considering that mechanisms for doing that may require the group members to have digital literacy skills which are in addition to their group-working skills. This ‘muddies the water’ when you make your assessment – for example, if you use adobe connect to make an assessment of groupwork, you are partially also making an assessment of the group’s overall ability to use adobe connect. Some groups may be stronger with that aspect than others – making it appear that their groupwork skills are better. Use your best judgement to come up with the best solution you can and accept that “the best solution” will probably involve some compromises which may mean that your assessment is not as robust as you would ordinarily like it to be.


Advice and strong arguments exist on both sides of this question – some argue that units should be pass/fail, others that units should be marked and graded. There is no clear winner to the argument, so my advice would be to continue with the marking/grading practice you are currently doing. 
Page last updated on 25/03/2020

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