1. Governing policy

The External Referencing Procedures (“procedures”) apply to the Assessment Policy. These procedures outline how the Institution should undertake external referencing of assessment which is purposeful, collaborative, evidence-based and informs improvements to courses and selected subjects within courses.

2. Scope

These procedures apply to all the Institution’s higher education courses (both award and non-award). It applies to all students, staff and others associated with, or contracted by, the Institution who are responsible for assessment.

3. External referencing principles

The external moderation of assessment process must be:

3.1 Effective: External referencing of assessment methods, grading and students’ achievement of learning outcomes are comparable across courses of study which supports both the quality enhancement and quality assurance of courses and subjects.

3.2 Efficient, sustainable and secure: The external referencing process is streamlined, efficient, sustainable and secure which can be operationalised by each institution involved in this type of activity. The online Peer Review Portal supports the efficiency, sustainability and security of all course data and reviewer feedback.

3.3 Transparent and accountable: Engages with multiple perspectives to facilitate a critical discussion between teaching staff across comparable courses of study to support consensus building around the standards of student performance. Identifies areas for improvement which are implemented and reported to the institution’s academic committees.

3.4 Capacity-building: Contributes to the professional development of participating staff and the formation of disciplinary and cross disciplinary communities of practice.

4. External referencing procedures

4.1 Phase 1: Formation of the Institution’s team and cross-institutional teams

4.1.1 Program Managers, in liaison with the Director, Quality Assurance and Accreditation (or delegated nominee), identify disciplines and disciplinary teams which will be involved in the external referencing activity with other institutes of higher education. Discussion includes the possible subjects for review, potential benchmarking partners and reviewers.

4.1.2 Each participating institution will appoint an institutional coordinator who will liaise with the Program Managers and Vice President (Quality Assurance and Accreditation) (or delegated nominee), on the external review of assessment activity as well as liaise with other institutional coordinators on the matching of subjects and discipline experts.

4.1.3 Institutional coordinators can be added as ‘Collaborators’ on the Portal during the subject reviews so that they have oversight of their reviewers’ feedback as well as feedback from other review teams so that reporting is transparent and accountable.

4.1.4 Subject Leads, who are responsible for the identified subject reviews, upload the relevant self-review material for the subjects on the Peer Review Portal. Self-review material, particularly student work samples, are to be de-identified.

4.1.5 Each subject will be assigned one or more reviewers, whose role as a reviewer is to confirm the suitability of the assessment tasks and assessment criteria in the subject outline against national disciplinary standards as well as assess the achievement of student learning outcomes.

4.1.6 The reviewer(s) need to have experience and expertise in the discipline and provide constructive feedback to the review applicant in a timely manner.

4.2 Phase 2: Identifying subjects for external review of assessment

4.2.1 When identifying subjects for external review, institutional coordinators and Program Managers need to consider:
a. Capstone subjects/or final year subjects to measure the assurance of graduate learning outcomes;

b. First year subjects which have high attrition rates;

c. Newly developed units that require external input;

d. Subjects and courses identified for course accreditation or professional accreditation; and

e. Assessment design, including assessment task/s and student work samples.

4.2.2 Coordinators in organising subjects for review, need to take into consideration both the review applicant’s and reviewer’s time and capacity in the external referencing process.

4.2.3 Subjects that are in teach out or are in the process of being redeveloped are not part of the external referencing process.

4.3 Phase 3: Online matchmaking meetings and project administration

4.3.1 The institutional coordinators agree to a schedule of regular online meetings with their peers, including disciplinary group meetings. If an institutional coordinator cannot make a meeting time, either a representative from that institution can take part in the meeting(s) or another time will be scheduled for this institution.

4.3.2 A schedule of reviews will be uploaded into Peer Review Portal, which will be shared with each institutional coordinator. The schedule will outline the following information:
a. Institution coordinator/disciplinary coordinator;

b. subject code & name;

c. subject information;

d. subject coordinator/lead name and contact details;

e. assessment task selected;

f. assessment task information;

g. date when self-review material is ready for review;

h. name of reviewing institution;

i. name of reviewer(s); and

j. reviewer(s) email contact details.

4.3.3 The external review of assessment template which will be used for external referencing is derived from the External Referencing of Standards (ERoS) Project 2016. The ERoS External Referencing template can be selected from drop-down list when setting up a review project and associated surveys.

4.4 Phase 4: Setting up a review project on the Peer Review Portal

4.4.1 Each institution coordinator and relevant disciplinary team involved in external peer review of assessment needs to be an existing user or signed up as a user of the Peer Review Portal. Click here for the Peer Review Portal website:

4.4.2 Each institution involved in the review project and their team members need to set up their own individual user names and passwords to access the Portal, which will be validated by an email on how to log onto the Portal. Each user will need to fill in their individual information in ‘Account’ and add their disciplinary expertise which will assist in searching the Portal for discipline experts.

4.4.3 When setting up a review project in the Portal, it is important to consider:
a. The type of review project: assessment (inputs/outputs); program review, benchmarking and accreditation support.

b. For external review of assessment, click on assessment inputs/outputs. For institutions undertaking external referencing as part of course accreditation/professional accreditation, you can use program review or accreditation support.

4.4.4 There are four steps to setting up a review project on the Peer Review Portal

Step 1: Project information: Fill in the relevant information for the course or subject under review, including the field of education and AQF qualification classification.

Step 2: Uploads: Upload the relevant information for the subject or course, including student work samples. Institutions have the option of delegating applicants to upload the material onto the Portal. Make sure that each individual heading such as ‘Course/Subject Outline/ which has an upload as a title as well. The Portal has an automatic feature which checks that all evidence is uploaded prior to submitting the review project for review. The Portal can most documents and file sizes. Online documents can be added through links. See Checklist of Evidence in Definitions for more information.

Step 3: Questionnaire: Choose a template from the ‘yes but no measure’ and click on the selected template, External Referencing of Standards (EROS). Questions can be viewed as a reviewer in ‘Preview Questionnaire’ and edit questions through clicking on ‘Edit Questions.

Step 4: Payment: Fill in the billing information and either pay for the review project by credit card or by credit. The review project needs to be paid for before Reviewers and Collaborators can be added.

4.4.5 Once these four steps are completed, the project will display ‘Complete Project Setup’. The project configuration will be locked, and an individual will be unable to upload any additional documents or change the questionnaire. Once the Project Setup is complete, there is then the opportunity to invite Collaborators and Reviewers, and view the data submitted by the reviewers.

4.4.6 Review reports: Once reviewer(s) have completed the review project, institution coordinators and/or project owners can download reports either identified or de-identified. Reports can be individual reports or a summary report of all reviewers’ comments.

4.5 Phase 5: Discussion on review reports and actions

4.5.1 Institutional coordinators can discuss and review reports with their disciplinary teams and identify areas for improvement or action. The Subject Lead undertakes the necessary actions and completes the action section on the Peer Review Portal. It is also valuable to have discussions with reviewers once the review projects have been completed to build collaboration and expertise across the sector.

4.5.2 A consensus calibration activity can also be organised so that academics are provided with a professional learning opportunity to discuss assessment and achievement standards.

4.5.3 Disputes against a review report should be raised with the review institution’s coordinator. It is the discretion of the institution’s coordinator to seek another reviewer for the review report. There is also an opportunity for a mediated discussion with the reviewer(s) to discuss the key issues in the report.

6. Roles and responsibilities

6.1 The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) has executive oversight of the implementation of these procedures.

6.2 The Academic Board is responsible for monitoring academic quality and achievement standards across all courses.

6.3 The Learning and Teaching Committee as a committee of the Academic Board is responsible for the management, monitoring and reporting of all external referencing activity across the Institution.

6.4 The Vice President (Quality Assurance and Accreditation) is responsible for monitoring all external referencing activity and identifying areas of risk.

6.5 Program Managers are responsible for moderating and monitoring assessment at the course level in collaboration with their course teams and cross-institutional/disciplinary teams.

6.6 Subject Leads are responsible for the development and review of assessment at the subject level in collaboration with their subject teams.

7. Related documents

Assessment Policy
Moderation of Assessments Procedures

Approved by Academic Board on 5 April 2019