Assessment of student learning

Policies table of contents


The purpose of the policy on assessment of student learning is to identify principles for assessing learning outcomes in the School, and to ensure that our grading practices are transparent. This policy is to be used by all instructors teaching Social Work or Human and Social Development courses offered by the School of Social Work. It is comprised of six components:


Grading Rubric (PDF 90KB)

  1. Introduction
    The School of Social Work strives for consistency in the way that learning outcomes are assessed in order to arrive at a final grade in any social work course. In an attempt to give some consistent meaning to the grade scale, generic descriptive criteria have been established: Grading Rubric (PDF 90Kb). Instructors are responsible for articulating how their criteria will be applied in the context of specific assignments Course outlines should contain assignment evaluation criteria that link back to these descriptors.

    Instructors are expected to record both positive and critical comments on assignments in addition to the grade. These comments should be linked to the evaluation criteria in the assignment instructions, and should reflect the descriptors in the grading scale document.

  2. Policy
    1. Grade points
      The numbers 0-9 are used by this university as the basis for calculating a student's grade point average on a sessional or cumulative basis. Numeric grade points are not used in the School of Social Work as symbols for evaluating student performance. The mark for any assignment can be a letter grade or a percentage, but not a grade point.
    2. Letter grades
      Letter grades are awarded on a scale of F to A+, and correspond to numeric ranges with mid-points identified. Where letter grades are used, it is recommended that instructors translate the letter grade to a numerical value, by using the mid-point percentage on the scale.
    3. Percentages
      Instructors may use percentages in rating student performance. For example, this may be appropriate in an objective test, or an assignment with very specific evaluation criteria that are readily quantified. Instructors should ensure that these percentages reflect the descriptive criteria in the School of Social Work grading scale. Rounding of percentages is done at the .5 level to two decimal places at all times.
      If several different assignment grades must be combined for a final grade, letter grades are converted to their equivalent mid-point percentage. The overall percentage is then converted to a final letter grade, according to the grading scale.
    4. Group assignments
      When a course includes group assignments, students are expected to participate actively in the group process and will share a group grade. A student who does not contribute fully and equally to the work of a group assignment, in accordance with project timelines, may be assigned a lower grade for the assignment than the rest of the group members, as a reflection of this differential contribution to the project. Alternatively, a student who does not contribute equally to a group project may be asked to submit additional individual coursework.
      Normally, group assignments should comprise no more than 40% weighting within a course grade.
    5. Field Education
      The School of Social Work values collaborative social work practices and being able to work effectively in a team environment is a necessary skill for practice. When a field placement includes working within a team environment, students are required to actively participate in and demonstrate collaborative skills and related activities as outlined by the Field Supervisor.
    6. Required but ungraded assignments
      An instructor may set a required but ungraded assignment that is not evaluated for credit as part of the final grade. This assignment must be completed by all students taking the course for credit to receive a passing grade in the course. The instructor should stipulate the criteria for completion of this assignment in the course outline.


English usage requirements  

  1. Policy
    1. English language standards
      1. The University of Victoria's policy on evaluation of student achievement states that term essays and examinations in any course will be refused a passing grade if they are deficient in English. (See UVic calendar)
      2. In accordance with this university policy, all assignments in the School are expected to be written competently, clearly, in a well organized fashion and with appropriate documentation. Assessment of writing effectiveness is part of the overall evaluation of all written work, whether or not a specific portion of the grade is designated for this purpose.
      3. Students needing assistance are expected to seek out appropriate resources to improve their writing. Instructors may require students to seek assistance for writing skills or refer them to the University of Victoria Writing Clinic.
      4. On faculty recommendation, students may be required to take an additional course(s) in English to remedy a deficiency.
    2. System of documentation for School of Social Work assignments
      1. For all School of Social Work assignments, the parenthetical documentation system prescribed by the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) will be followed. Students are expected to use the most recent edition of the A.P.A. Style Guide.
      2. If a student prefers to use any other recognized method of documentation, this can be negotiated with the instructor. A student must state clearly in each assignment which documentation is being used, if it is other than the A.P.A. style.


Attendance and participation  

  1. Introduction
    Students should read the general policies set out in the University of Victoria calendar under academic regulations, paying particular attention to the policies on attendance and evaluation of student achievement. The University policy states that students are expected to attend all classes in which they are enrolled, and that assessment techniques may include assessing a student's participation in class discussions. The general policy also states that faculties may establish more specific regulations in this regard.
  2. Policy
    1. Students taking courses through the School of Social Work are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classroom sessions, in addition to completing the required coursework in order to receive credit for the course.
    2. In terms of a distance education course, a student is considered to have met this requirement if they have achieved an 80% level of participation in any face-to-face, online, and teleconference activities set out in the course outline and study guide.


Submission of assignments  

  1. Introduction
    This policy is designed to supplement the policy of "evaluation of student achievement" found in the UVic calendar, which applies to all students.

  2. Policy
    1. Instructors are required to articulate clearly in their course outlines, the procedures for submitting assignments in that particular course.
    2. When the due date for an assignment (or the extended deadline for an assignment) falls on a day that the university is not officially open, the actual due date will be the next business day that the university is officially open.
    3. A student who is unable to meet an assignment deadline due to illness, accident, or family affliction, may be eligible for an extension. Unless a student negotiates with an instructor prior to the deadline, a penalty for late assignments will be applied. A paper will be assessed on grade level penalty during the first week of lateness (from an A- to a B+, or a B+ to a B, for example) and a further grade level penalty during the second week of lateness. Instructors should indicate the reduction in grade because of lateness.
    4. Assignments will not be accepted (hence a failing grade of N assigned) two weeks after the due date. In the case of in-class, online, or take-home exams, special instructions may be given which preclude the acceptance of late submissions.
    5. The School of Social Work acknowledges its duty to accommodate the needs of students with a disability and to provide confidentiality, privacy, and empowerment, based on adult education principles. Students with a disability who foresee possible difficulties with assignment deadlines are expected to discuss their needs with their instructor at the beginning of the term.


Grade review (appeals)  

See the Faculty of Human and Social Development Procedures for Review of Assigned Grades - Undergraduate Students.


Deferral of course grade or academic concession  

  1. Introduction
    A student who is unable to complete course requirements within prescribed timelines due to illness, accident or personal/family affliction may be eligible for academic concession. University policy on academic concession is provided in the academic regulations section of the UVic calendar. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with this policy and act accordingly.

  2. Policy
    1. It is the School of Social Work's policy that, in order to be considered for deferred status, students must:
      1. have completed at least 50% of the coursework at the time the deferral is requested
      2. have consulted with the course instructor and agreed on dates for the submission of the outstanding work.
      3. have submitted a completed request for academic concession form to Record Services with appropriate support documentation no later than 10 days after the end of the examination period for that term.
    2. University policy requires that deferred grades be submitted no later than the end of the term following the session in which the deferral is granted. There will be no exceptions made to this policy.
    3. The instructor who was responsible for the section of the course in which the student was registered is responsible to grade the deferred work provided it is submitted within the time period set by the university. The instructor is not expected to provide course materials or tutorials to students whose grade was deferred.

Policies table of contents