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Grading Policy

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Purpose

To articulate the principles that underpin the Macquarie University approach to the grading of student learning. These principles will inform the conduct and management of grading used in all coursework units.

Overview

The University recognises the importance of producing grades and reports of student learning achievements that are valid, reliable and accurate representations of each student’s capabilities in relation to clearly articulated learning objectives.

The University operates on the premise that through assessment students are encouraged to engage in their education, rather than merely pursue grades.

As a self-accrediting institution, the University is committed to ensuring these grades are consistent with national and international benchmarks. Equally, the grades must be comparable across the institution and referenced to predetermined standards.
Scope This policy applies to all coursework units offered by or on behalf of Macquarie University.

Policy

The University will ensure that students are informed of the expectations and learning outcomes related to each assessment task required for each unit of study.

The grade a student receives will signify their overall performance in meeting the learning outcomes of a unit of study.

Grades will not be awarded by reference to the achievement of other students nor allocated to fit a predetermined distribution.

In determining a grade, due weight will be given to the learning outcomes and level of a unit (ie 100, 200, 300, 800 etc).

Each passing grade subsumes and goes beyond the grades lower than it.

The University will establish procedures for producing grades that will be consistent, fair and equitable.

STANDARDISED NUMERICAL GRADE (SNG)
The number assigned to a grade, known as the Standardised Numerical Grade (SNG) reflects the extent to which student attainment matches the descriptors. For example, an SNG of 65 demonstrates performance that shows the achievement of the minimum set of attributes that satisfy the credit standard; an SNG of 70 demonstrates the achievement of a credit standard above the minimum but below the level of the distinction standard; an SNG of 75 is a performance that shows the achievement of the minimum set of attributes that satisfy the distinction standard.

In relation to grading, there are two type of units:

  • Graded
  • Non-Graded

Both types of units will have a finite list of University grades that may be awarded.

Graded units will use the following grades and be aligned/mapped to the listed numerical range:

HD        High Distinction 85-100
D          Distinction            75-84
Cr         Credit                   65-74
P           Pass                    50-64
F           Fail                      0-49

Non-graded units (ie those assessed on a pass/fail basis only) will use the following grades but will not be assigned a numerical range:

S         Satisfactory              No SNG
F          Fail                          No SNG

Where a unit is completed at another tertiary institution, it may be recognised on a Macquarie University academic record with the relevant grade.

GRADE POINT AVERAGE
A Grade Point Average (GPA) is a calculation that reflects the overall grades of a student in a coursework program. It will be calculated on the basis of the units completed at Macquarie University towards the program. It will not take into account credit points granted for credit for previous studies, advanced standing or through non-award study. The calculation will be based on the following:

Grades obtained from 2011 and onwards
GPA = (4w + 3x + 2y + 0f) divided by e where w is the number of credit points gained at HD and D, x is the number of credit points gained at Cr, y is the number of credit points gained at P, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or S), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

Grades obtained from 2001 – 2010
GPA = (4w + 3x + 2y + 1z + 0f) divided by e where w is the number of credit points gained at HD and D, x is the number of credit points gained at Cr, y is the number of credit points gained at P, z is the number of credit points gained at PC, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or S), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

Grades obtained prior to 2001
GPA = (4a + 3b + 2c+ 1cq+ 0f) divided by e where a is the number of credit points gained at A grade, b is the number of credit points gained at B grade, c is the number of credit points gained at C grade, cq is the number of credit points gained at CQ grade, e is the total number of credit points for which a student is effectively enrolled (excluding units with W or P), f is the number of credit points gained with an F grade.

DESCRIPTORS
The following generic grade descriptors provide university-wide standards for awarding final grades. The inclusion of a specific reference to unit learning outcome within each descriptor enables these descriptors to be applied to all coursework units of study. It is expected that the learning outcomes will be differentiated across levels of study to reflect an increasing cognitive complexity throughout a program as students work towards attainment of the graduate capabilities.

Although unit conveners may develop criteria and standards for specific assessment tasks, the determination of the final grade must reflect the descriptors given below.

High Distinction
Provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application as appropriate to the discipline.

Distinction
Provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience.

Credit
Provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; convincing argumentation with appropriate coherent justification; communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline.

Pass
Provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; routine argumentation with acceptable justification; communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.

Fail
Does not provide evidence of attainment of learning outcomes.
There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.

Satisfactory
Used for units where grading is on a pass or fail basis only. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory in relation to the specified outcomes.
S         Satisfactory      No range
F          Fail                  No range

Results
The University will not issue paper-based result notifications except for students who qualify for an award.

Students will be responsible for accessing the online student system (Student One) to determine their unit result.

STATUS
The University can also endorse student records with a status:

I           Indicates the unit is incomplete
IS         Indicates the unit is incomplete and a special examination is granted
K          Indicates that a postgraduate unit or honours program continued over more than one half year
W         Denotes withdrawn without penalty
Z          Indicates a thesis or dissertation has been submitted and is being assessed

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHES
The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this policy applies breaches this policy (or any of its related procedures).

Policy Information

Contact Officer Chair, Academic Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
Date Approved 3 August 2010
Approval Authority Academic Senate
Date of Commencement For units with a teaching start date of 1 January 2011 or later
Amendment Dates November 2011 – updated with Compliances and Breaches statement
Date for Next Review August 2013
Related Documents Academic Transcript Request Procedure
Assessment Policy / Procedure / Code of Practice
Grade Appeal Policy
Grade Point Calculator
Unit Guide Policy / Procedure
Policies / Rules Superseded by This Policy Bachelor Degree Rule 9 (1), (2), (3)
Certificate Rule 5
Diploma Rule 7
Graduate Certificate Rule 6
Graduate Diploma Rule 6
Master by Coursework Rules 7 (2), (3), (4), (5)
Postgraduate Certificate Rules 7 (2), (3), (4), (5)
Postgraduate Diploma Rules 7 (2), (3), (4), (5)
Keywords Grade, Grading, Assessment
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