Policies, procedures and guidelines

Information on Academic program policies and procedures, and Learning Assurance.

Policies, procedures, guidelines

Please refer to The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Policy Library website for policies in relation to Academic Integrity and unsatisfactory progress procedures, appeals, complaints and grievances, Assessment and examination procedures, course and subject development, exchange and study abroad, student responsibilities and work integrated learning.

For a full collection of University policies, procedures and guidelines, please consult the Melbourne Policy Library.

Learning Assurance

In 2013-14 the Faculty of Arts undertook a review of the learning objectives and assessment tasks of the majors and subjects it offers into the BA and other degrees.

The aims of the project were:

  • To assure transparent alignment of published learning outcomes of all subjects (objectives and generic skills) with the published learning outcomes of the BA (skills and graduate attributes)
  • To articulate program level skills for each major in the BA
  • To assure transparent alignment of published learning outcomes of all subjects with the assessment tasks undertaken in those subjects
  • To develop and articulate the sequence of learning outcomes by year level (Levels 1, 2 and 3) in each program (major stream)
  • To collate and present this information clearly to students and to regulatory bodies
  • To develop processes for assuring ongoing alignment of assessment, subject learning outcomes and degree objectives through subject proposal and change procedures and periodic review
  • Learning Assurance resources, tools and templates for teaching staff

    A range of information including guides to effective design of learning objectives, links to University policies on subject design and assessment, as well as relevant reports, examples and links to resources. This page also provides a number of templates for the alignment of objectives and assessment that can be tailored to the specific needs of programs and subjects.

    This web page includes a range of information including the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), The University of Melbourne Graduate Attributes, current objectives of the BA, guides to effective design of learning objectives, links to University policies on subject design and assessment, as well as relevant reports, examples and links to relevant resources. This page also provides a number of templates for the alignment of objectives and assessment that can be tailored to the specific needs of programs and subjects.

    How to navigate and use these resources

    1. Understand the context for the project. See learning aims and objectives
    2. Collect, discuss and analyze current subject guides for the course(s)
    3. Write, or revise, course / major learning outcomes to align with University graduate attributes / AQF guidelines / degree-level objectives. See guides and templates and examples
    4. Write, or revise, learning outcomes for each subject to align with degree / major outcomes; differentiate learning outcomes by year level. See guides and templates and examples
    5. (a) Write, or revise, assessment tasks for each subject to align with learning outcomes for each subject; (b) ensure variety of tasks to fulfill degree and program objectives and (c) differentiate task complexity by each year level in the course
    6. Write, or revise, assessment criteria to demonstrate alignment and fulfill University policy requirements. See policies and procedures
    7. Collate and map revised curriculum objectives; make curriculum visible to students and other stakeholders through subject outlines, LMS, Handbook entries. Learning Assurance Coordinators in the Schools can advise on how to do this effectively, and the Learning Assurance Officer can assist with collation and record. See About teaching and learning contacts

    See also the support listed on 'Workshops and Professional Development' page and the 'Support and Contacts' sections of this site for assistance and advice on all stages of this process.

    Learning aims and objectives

    Through the Australian Qualifications Framework, the federal government has set a number of broad learning aims and objectives with which degrees must align in order to receive and maintain accreditation. In turn, the University has established sets of Graduate Attributes and degree-level objectives.

    While this does not mean that every subject must align with every degree-level objective or Graduate Attribute, each subject and program must meet some of these objectives and, by the successful conclusion of their degree, every student should have acquired the full range of learning outcomes and skills regardless of which major or specialisation they have undertaken. This Learning Assurance review is being undertaken to confirm and demonstrate that this is the case.

    The national level

    The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) sets broad expectations for acquired knowledge and skills at the degree level. Bachelor degrees, such as the BA, are Category 7; Bachelor degrees with Honours, such as the BA (Degree with Honours), are Category 8, and Masters by coursework degrees are Category 9.

    The University level

    The University of Melbourne aspires to equip all graduates of all degrees with a broad set of attributes. Visit the University's Teaching, Learning and the Student Experience web page.

    The University also supports a Scholarly Literacy Framework in which 'Foundation' corresponds to Level 1 of undergraduate studies, 'Proficient' corresponds to completion of undergraduate studies at Level 3, and 'Advanced' corresponds to graduate level study.

    The degree level

    Each degree will have general aims and objectives. These can usually be found on the university Handbook entry for each degree. View the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Handbook entry to read about BA objectives.


    Templates and examples

    In addition to the curriculum mapping and other tools indicated above, the following are a series of templates and examples which may assist in the mapping of subject objectives and assessment tasks to program (major) and degree level skills and in the distinction of learning outcomes by year level. These templates are designed to be tailored to specific program and subject needs and are provided here as starting points for specialized mapping. The Learning Assurance Coordinators in each School can advise staff on how to best utilize these tools for their specific programs and subjects.

  • Learning Assurance professional development

    The Faculty of Arts hosted a number of seminars, talks, workshops and discussion sessions focused on learning assurance and related areas of teaching and learning. These sessions were designed for all academic staff and provided by Academic Skills, Learning Environments, the CSHE and others.

    Putting assessment, course objectives and graduate outcomes into perspective

    Professor Royce Sadler, Griffith University and the University of Queensland

    The current national and institutional settings for the assessment of student learning are that graduate attributes, course outcomes, assessment tasks and marking should all be aligned and pull in the same direction. This naturally has implications for the way we structure programs and courses and carry out assessment. In this address, the relationship between these different aspects is analysed, bearing in mind the various planning and practical constraints within which academic teachers and tutors work. Some matters need to be rethought and reworked so as to achieve better outcomes - but without making things more labour intensive than they are now.

    Professor Sadler, an internationally recognised expert on formative assessment design and assessing academic standards at tertiary level, will discuss his views on the relationship between assessment and learning drawn from his influential work in this area over more than three decades. View Professor Emeritus Royce Sadler's biography.

    Engaging assessment: options, ways and means

    Travis Cox, Learning Environments and Simon Evans, Academic Skills

    The essay remains the primary assessment tool in Arts, valued for its specific strengths in disciplinary discourses. But there are other options. This workshop considers other forms of assessment in use across the University. These assessment tasks can complement the essay, helping to ensure that all outcomes are being assessed, and also helping to equip students with a broader range of academic skills.

    Engaging assessment presentation slides

    Designing assessments for your subject

    Clare Rhoden, SCC and Learning Environments and Simon Evans, Academic Skills

    In this workshop our aim is to consider how we might optimise the alignment of subject content and student outcomes through assessment tasks. Our questions include: Do the subject assessment tasks measure what we want measured? Do students receive formative feedback? Do the assessment tasks match the expectations of students at the specific year level?

    Designing assessments for your subject presentation slides

    Rethinking assessment in higher education: issues, challenges and new approaches

    Dr Chi Baik, Centre for the Study of Higher Education

    This seminar critically examined current approaches to assessment and asked: Are we assessing what we should be assessing in higher education? Chi discussed possibilities for rethinking assessment and curriculum design to focus more on the higher-order learning that characterises university education.

Other resources