Assessment: Standards of Achievement

Literature Review

Download the literature review on the assessment of graduate skills and academic standards:

Rigby, B., Wood, L., Clark-Murphy, M., Daly, A., Dixon, P., Kavanagh, M., Leveson, L., Petocz, P., Thomas, T & Vu. T.  (2010). The assessment of graduate skills: orienting students and standards for an uncertain future. Australian Learning & Teaching Council Project: Embedding the development and grading of generic skills across the business curriculum. Available online at:

Standards of Achievement: frameworks for assessing graduate skills

The reform agenda currently being negotiated within higher education in Australia, and indeed in the higher education systems in Europe, UK and the US, is seemingly driven by a concern for quality assurance and accreditation in an increasingly fluid and competitive global economy and student body. It is also representative of a paradigm shift in quality assurance from that based on ‘fitness for purpose’ to excellence and the achievement of academic standards. Student academic achievement, the measure for quality in higher education, is being located strategically at a national level: linked explicitly to national economic development and regional and global competitiveness within the education market. At the same time, the process of developing and implementing academic standards for quality assurance is quite transparent and participatory. This has tremendous implications for accountability, public confidence and internal competitiveness, but also for the shaping of effective teaching and learning processes and student autonomy and lifelong learning.

The project team, in consultation with academics, business representatives and students, has developed four standards of achievement for the assessment of critical thinking, ethical practice, sustainability and teamwork. Click on the link below to view and/or download the standards of achievement:

  • Standards of Achievement

Current Research

Dr Theda Thomas from the project team recently presented a paper at the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) Conference, held at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne on 19-20 November 2009. Read the full paper here: Embedding generic skills means assessing generic skills. The theme of the conference was Assessment in Different Dimensions which offered an opportunity to explore different needs and objectives, contexts and approaches, practices and tools of assessment.

Embedding generic skills means assessing generic skills: abstract

This paper is based on an ALTC project investigating the embedding of generic skills into a Business curriculum. The project focuses on four generic skills, namely, critical thinking skills, teamwork skills, ethical practice and the practice of sustainability. As part of the project, the team ran a workshop with students where various activities and potential assessment tasks were practised. The students’ comments were used to refine the activities and assessments. As students progress from first through to third year, they need to develop their skills in critical thinking and teamwork. They also need to develop their ability to make ethical decisions and understand sustainable practices. It is important for the skills to be embedded into assessment tasks in order to measure the students’ attainments of the skills. Specific examples of embedding the skills into assessments across the three years of the degree will be given, including an example used in the workshop with the students which shows how to integrate critical thinking and teamwork skills into a capstone assignment that helps students to develop their ethical and sustainability practice.

Bookmark and Share