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SOS: A tool to support assessment practice across degree courses

Lawson, R., Bajada, C. and Lee, J. (2010) SOS: A tool to support assessment practice across degree courses. In: Australian Technology Network (ATN) Assessment Conference 2010: Assessment Sustainability, Diversity and Innovation, 18 - 19 November 2010, University Technology of Sydney, Sydney



Reviews of degree programs often reveal a lack of a suitable structure to ensure the appropriate distribution and weighting of students’ assessment experiences across the program. In an attempt to address this issue, the Subject Overview Spreadsheet (SOS) was developed to support staff in designing their assessments and monitoring practice across each year of a degree program. The tool is designed to be used initially by subject coordinators designing their modules, to ensure that all assessment aligns with learning objectives and meets faculty and university policies. SOS then collates information for related sets of subjects – for example, all first-year core subjects within a degree program or all compulsory subjects within a major – and produces a series of tables so that teaching teams across subjects can view the types, weightings and distributions of the assessments. These tables can be used to identify gaps or overloading in the subject assessment design, so that modifications can be made to provide a suitable balance for students. This process has proven very effective with large programs with multiple majors. Data is then forwarded to the accreditation committee to monitor assessment and assurance of learning across the program. It also facilitates reviews of the impact of any proposed changes in subject assessment design.

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