Authentic Assessment Project - communication

A key priority action of the University’s Academic Enterprise Plan 2021-2025 (AEP) is the Authentic Assessment Project (AAP), which supports the recognition of and movement towards more authentic forms of assessment, instilling graduate qualities and job-ready skills within our students (AEP Action 2.2). 

We are currently inviting Expressions of Interest from UniSA staff and USASA student representatives to participate in the Authentic Assessment Project Steering Group (AAPSG).

Expressions of Interest can be submitted online until 5pm Friday 15 April

For more information about the project and the core responsibilities, skills and experience required for these roles, visit the AAP website.

I look forward to your significant contributions towards the review of our approaches to assessment at UniSA, as we prepare students for their careers as future leaders and innovators.  

This is an exciting opportunity to join the newly formed Assessment Design Lab (ADL), the Authentic Assessment Network.

To help achieve the goals of Academic Enterprise Plan’s Authentic Assessment Project, the Teaching Innovation Unit has created the Assessment Design Lab (ADL). The Lab is an opportunity for academic staff to be part of a dynamic inter-disciplinary network facilitating change in assessment practices across the University.

The ADL will provide a space for sharing, designing, and testing innovative approaches to assessment and an environment for the co-creation of new forms of assessment and the enhanced development of existing practices.

For more information and to join the Assessment Design Lab.


Staff are invited to the inaugural workshop in the Praxis Club for the Assessment Design Lab (ADL). These practical sessions are designed to support transitioning theory and definitional work in Authentic Assessment into your teaching practice. 

In this initial session, based on the proposed UniSA authentic assessment definition, we will be discussing ways which you include Authentic Assessments in your courses. We start by discussing some suggestions as a collective, drawing from your existing assessments and examples in current practice at UniSA. The workshop will then turn to ideation for formative learning tasks to trial in SP5 and refine and implement as summative tasks in 2023. This practical workshop will move from theory into practice in collaboration with you to support your continued development of Authentic Assessment strategies.

All staff are welcome to participate and bring their ideas about Authentic Assessment.

If you're not already a member, we invite you to join the Assessment Design Lab MS Teams site.

For more information and to register click here.

Good assessment practices should be at the centre of our course and program design. Assessment activities that generate excitement for learning in both staff and students are the motivator behind the UniSA Authentic Assessment Project. Authentic learning activities as assessment lead to richer staff-student engagement, contributing to meaningful feedback, and better learning outcomes. 

UniSA's Authentic Assessment Definition, which builds on our existing assessment practices, includes five characteristics of authentic assessment that are widely considered as the critical elements of authentic assessment. We encourage you to review your course assessment and whether they reflect one or more of the five characteristics of authentic assessment. 

Over the coming months, the Teaching Innovation Unit (TIU) will work with Academic Units and UniSA Online to support unit-led assessment reviews and the development of Assessment Scenario statements.

More information on the Authentic Assessment Project can be found via the TIU website.

One of the major projects associated with the Authentic Assessment Project (AAP) is an upgrade to Program & Course Management System (PCMS), specially the assessment fields in PCMS aligning them to the fields summarised in the Program Approval Manual Appendix C.

Since 2016, the Program Approval Manual has included an assessment model structure that has not been reflected in UniSA systems, primarily PCMS. As part of the AAP, the Assessment Definitions Project aims to reflect this new assessment structure in PCMS and Course Outline. The upgrade brings about a change in how assessment data is captured in PCMS and presented in the Course Outline.

The PCMS Assessment Definitions Project will be completed in early November 2022 for the 2023 academic year. A component of this project is an update to the Course Outline tool, and where required learnonline, to ensure the updated PCMS assessment data is pulled and processed correctly in both Course Outline and learnonline.

The technical documentation associated with this work has identified a limitation in the learnonline’s ability to handle both legacy (current PCMS assessment data) and the new assessment data for two types of assessment configuration – Continuous and Multiple Component Assessments. As a result, Continuous and Multiple Component Assessment information must be updated in PCMS prior to the creation and publishing of the Course Outline and the delivery of the Course in 2023. Additional information about the Continuous and Multiple Component Assessment fields, and the impact on Course Outline creation, can be found on via TIU SharePoint.

Further impacting the release of the Course Outline tool is the update to our assessment policies and procedure required by the University’s Policy Framework, communicated in the Staff Announcements this year. The University's principles of student assessment will be presented in a single, high-level Assessment Policy. Separate Procedure documents will be prepared that will essentially present the existing APPM chapters in the format required by the relevant template.

As a result, the Course Outline Tool (semi-automated web-based application to generate the Course Outline) will not be available until mid-November – we are anticipating its release on the 14th November 2022. This will impact the timing of when SP1 and SP2 Course Outlines can be generated. Publishing of the Course Outline prior to the assessments being updated in PCMS will result in incorrect assessment data being displayed to students and will impact your ability to update and release grades via learnonline. We therefore respectfully ask you refrain from creating your Course Outline until all upgrades have been completed.  As per our academic policies, Course Outlines must be made available online before the first day of teaching in the course (for SP1 - 9 January 2023).  

The Authentic Assessment Project (AAP) is a key project of the Academic Enterprise Plan, helping position UniSA as a leader in authentic assessment.

A major deliverable of the AAP is the Program Assessment Dashboard developed collaboratively by Business Intelligence and Planning (BIP) and the Teaching Innovation Unit (TIU).

One of the challenges confronting the higher education sector is the need to balance the use of assessment for quality assurance and accreditation versus assessment for motivating and improving learning.

Given the dual purpose of assessment, UniSA has developed program assessment dashboards to help.

The dashboard provides filterable visuals of assessments in the university. The visuals afford users the ability to interrogate assessment data including frequency, authenticity, format and domains resulting in transparent assessment practices, which allow stakeholders to make decisions about the curriculum as well as teaching and learning activities.

This tool will facilitate critical conversations regarding our future assessment practices.

Learn more about the Program Assessment Dashboard here.

Published 27 March 2023