Assessment Strategy for Degree Programmes
Macao Polytechnic University (hereafter referred to as ‘the University’) is a public multidisciplinary higher education institution with an emphasis on applied knowledge and research. The University is committed to providing student-centred education that combines rigorous learning with the excitement of discovery, promoting academic freedom, integrity and creativity, supporting a diverse research culture in a dynamic environment, and instilling a spirt of service for the betterment of society. Being part of this mission, this strategy is designed to ensure graduates are of high quality capable of contributing to the development of the society.
PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT
- Assessment serves as a crucial link between effective teaching, student learning, and academic standards.
The following fundamental principles are observed at the University regarding student assessment:
- Assessment contributes to high standards of teaching and learning and is informed by best international practices;
- Assessment tasks and processes are of appropriate standard;
- Assessment is fair and reliable, with the processes clearly understood by examiners and students;
- Assessment is accompanied by informative feedback to support learning.
- Procedures and guidelines adopted by the University in relation to assessment (such as the roles of examination boards and external examiners) are to be observed while necessary professional freedom is allowed in deciding when and how assessment should be conducted. Examiners of a learning module are responsible for the module outcomes, recommending assessment results to relevant programme examination board, and ensuring the board has all necessary information about the assessment criteria of the module concerned.
STRATEGIES OF ASSESSMENT
- Assessment will be designed to maintain academic standards. It will be explicitly aligned to appropriate criteria as determined by the programmes and academic units concerned at the University and benchmarked against expected outcomes, requirements of professional, statutory or regulatory bodies (PSRBs) and commonly accepted international standards of relevant fields of study.
- The volume, diversity and range of assessment tasks will be appropriate to the learning outcomes and teaching activities of the learning modules and the programme concerned, allowing all students to demonstrate their learning outcomes with an equal opportunity.
- Assessment will be designed to drive successful learning. Students will be informed of the purpose of assessment and its place within the context of learning. They will be regularly assessed and will be clear about the criteria being used in the assessment. They will be provided with timely and constructive feedback on their work. Such feedback may come from self-evaluation, peer review and assessment by instructors.
- Assessment will be regularly reviewed both internally and by external examiners from internationally recognised institutions to ensure that standards are maintained and best practices are adopted.
- Assessment will be clearly documented to demonstrate student achievements in a form useful for future employers and other interested parties.
CREDIT-BASED SYSTEM OF STUDY
- Education at the University is organised around the credit system defined in Administrative Regulation No.19/2018 of the Macao SAR Government. Learning progress is measured by the number of credits a student has been awarded after completing learning modules in his/her enrolled curriculum with a pass grade. On obtaining a pass grade, the student accumulates the module credits as awarded credits.
A student’s performance is measured by weighted grade point average, which is calculated as indicated below, where n is the number of modules taken (i.e. both modules with a pass grade and a fail grade are included):
- At present, the University does not impose any formal progression system, except for doctoral students as described in the Academic Regulations Governing Doctoral Degree Programmes. At the end of the year, a student is automatically progressed into the learning modules of the following year provided that s/he has fulfilled relevant prerequisite requirements. A student who has obtained all required credits according to applicable study plan is awarded a degree corresponding to his/her enrolled programme of study upon approval of the Pedagogic Committee concerned.
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA AND GRADING
- The University adopts a criterion-referenced approach to assessment. Students are assessed against predetermined criteria set out in the form of descriptions of what students need to do and how well they do it to merit a particular grade or fall within a particular range of marks.
- The University has established broad generic descriptions, which instructors can draw upon and interpret into their own subject matter when setting out criteria and descriptions for each assessment component in their learning modules.
- Students’ learning outcomes in individual taught modules may be assessed by means of a written, practical or oral test, or by continuous assessment, or by any combination of these. The result of each assessment component contributes to students’ overall module grade.
Taught modules and undergraduate capstone experience are graded using the following system (1) except otherwise specified:
Letter Grade Mark Ranges Grade Point Grade Definition (2) A
Excellent B+ 83–87 3.3 Very Good B
Pass F 0–49 0 Fail
(1) With effect from cohort of Year 2013/2014.
(2) Generic descriptions of each grade are given below:
Excellent: Strong evidence of original thinking; good organisation, capacity to analyse and systemise; superior grasps of subject matter; strong evidence of extensive knowledge base.
Very Good: Evidence of grasps of subject; strong evidence of critical capacity and analytical ability; good understanding of issues; evidence of familiarity with literature.
Good: Evidence of grasp of subject; some evidence of critical capacity and analytical ability; reasonable understanding of issues; evidence of familiarity with literature.
Satisfactory: Profiting from the study experience; understanding of the subject; ability to develop solutions to simple problems in the material.
Pass: Sufficient familiarity with the subject matter to enable the student to progress without repeating the learning module.
Fail: Little evidence of familiarity with the subject matter; weak in critical and analytical skills; limited, or irrelevant use of literature.
- Postgraduate capstone experience is assessed either on a pass/fail basis (which does not contribute to GPA) or using the grading system described above. The applicable grading system will be specified in respective Academic Regulations.
Taught postgraduate degrees with an overall GPA of 3.7 are awarded with Distinction.
MAPPING TO THE BRITISH DEGREE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
To provide an international comparison, it is helpful to map the undergraduate GPA at the University against the standards of another country. A mapping to the British undergraduate degree classification system using NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom) as a reference is used for that comparison:
Cumulative GPA at the University Honour Classification Equivalent 3.70 to 4.00 First Class Honours 3.20 to 3.69 Second Class Upper Honours 2.50 to 3.19 Second Class Lower Honours 2.00 to 2.49 Third Class Honours 1.00 to 1.99 Pass
Using a GPA of 3.7 as the mark of Distinction for taught postgraduate degrees, i.e. a GPA equivalent to First Class Honours, is also something that is common in British practice.
However, standards of equivalence are ultimately maintained by the use of external examiners from outside of Macao and also by accreditation from PSRBs.
MAINTAINING STANDARDS IN DOCTORAL DEGREES
There is no universal system for examining doctoral candidates. Systems vary from the viva voce approach in the UK to the system in Australia, which is essentially only on the thesis. The gazetted Macao Higher Education System defines the format of the examination using a public defence; such an approach is broadly similar to many other countries, for example Canada.
Whatever the mechanism for the examination, generally doctoral degrees awarded across the world are of similar standard and this is maintained by using subject experts as external examiners, whether to review the thesis or to question the candidate during the defence.
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