Policy change happens once in a blue moon at universities, and when it comes up, it matters. Currently, QUT is reviewing the 0% late assessment policy.
QUT’s approach to assessment has changed exponentially in the past 10 years. QUT has had a myriad of assessment submission styles, from hardcopy submission at Assignment Minder locations on QUT campuses, Blackboard submission, TurnItIn and the like. In the past, QUT has used academic concession policies that have varied from faculty to faculty, including a Sliding Scale akin to UQ and other Australian universities, before eventually transitioning to a complete all-faculty 0% Late Assessment policy.
As mentioned, QUT currently operates under a 0% late assessment policy. Essentially, if you submit after the due date without an approved extension, your assignment will not be marked. Here is a list of some pros and cons.
According to QUT’s MOPP rule, 6.3.5 “assessment work submitted after the due date without an approved extension of time will ordinarily not be marked and a grade of 1 or 0% will be awarded against the assessment item”. This policy is strict in comparison to other Australian universities. You can find the full Late Assessment Policy here.
This would explain the constant warnings given to ‘not leave submitting your work until last minute’ as technological issues are not considered an excuse for missing the minuscule window. If you’re 2 seconds late to submitting online, you will not be marked and a grade of 1 or 0% will be awarded against the assessment. The main argument favouring the 0% Policy is that it prepares students for ‘The Read World,’ despite the fact that many organisations in the real world do not operate in this fashion.
Current Review of Policy
This policy is currently in a review phase, where collaboration is taking place between the QUT Guild and the Student Success Group, which is a department of the university. This review began in 2019 and student and staff opinion has been gathered through various committee meetings and focus groups. These focus groups aimed to gather feedback from students on the problems with the current 0% late assessment policy. The feedback collected from these focus groups resulted in 9 key recommendations for change. The first recommendation was clear: ‘Replace 0% late submission policy with a sliding scale of penalties. The current proposal is that the late assessment policy is changed from a 0% policy to a new framework. The proposed option is a 48hr no-penalty concession window that students can elect to use. No documentation will be required for students to access this extra time. At the end of the 48-hour extra window, the 0% policy will still be enforced.
Previously in 2019, the focus groups looked at a variety of options, including a ‘Sliding Scale’ policy. This is a policy wherein a student will lose a percentage of marks for each day an assessment is late. This policy is in place in a variety of universities across Australia with varying percentage penalties. These universities include The University of Queensland, Griffith Universities, University of the Sunshine Coast, Edith Cowan University, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. The sliding scale option has been a part of the conversation for QUT during this process, however, the currently proposed policy is the 48-Hour policy.
Concerns Surrounding Review Proceedings
Concerns have been raised by the QUT Guild regarding the process of proposing the 48-Hour Policy, which has been mirrored by student views in focus groups and StalkerSpace. To read some of these student concerns, follow this link to a post by the QUT Guild in StalkserSpace, the comments reflect a variety of student opinions on the matter. 2019 Student Rights Vice President of the QUT Guild, Sarah McCutcheon said in a statement to Glass that, “I don’t believe that the 48-hour extension option really addresses the core issues that come along with the 0% Late Assessment Policy.” The report that came out of the 2019 committee, which was worked on extensively by Ms McCutcheon and other members of the committee, found that there was a preference for a Sliding Scale to be introduced. This was the initial recommendation which emerged from the 2019 review. However, in a meeting of the steering committee that took place on the 15th of November 2019, the wording of the report that called for changing the 0% Policy to a Sliding Scale policy was altered to read that the committee should Replace 0% late submission policy and explore more flexible options. the 0% Policy should be changed to an alternate policy. This change led to several alternative options being explored and ultimately the 48-Hour Policy was chosen.
Like many university functions, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the proceedings of this policy review. The focus groups have been confined to group zoom sessions that were held last week. The original timeline accounted for more extensive student collaboration regarding the 48-Hour Policy proposals, including several focus group sessions on campus. Because of the pandemic, the size and scope of the sessions were reduced to the Zooms sessions that were held in lieu of the in–person consults. The QUT Guild has raised some concerns with the limited opportunity students now have to engage with and provide feedback on this proposed policy change, however, they acknowledge that the pandemic has affected this process significantly. The QUT Guild President, Olivia Brumm, had this to say on the matter;
“This review process presents a rare opportunity for students to directly influence academic policy at QUT. It is absolutely imperative that consultation with the broader student community about the proposed 48-hour alternative is comprehensive, thorough and engages as many students as possible. At the end of the day the most important thing is that the alternative policy has student’s welfare at its core. “
Make Your Voice Count
This change will affect all students, whether you like it or not. Currently, the QUT Guild is putting together a report to present to the steering committee on the 17th of April, next Friday. If you have strong thoughts on the 48-hour policy proposal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘0% Policy Student Opinion’ to share your views and have your views included in the report. Is there a Policy you prefer? Do you have concerns or feedback about how the 48-Hour Policy would affect you or your faculty? Let the Guild know so that your ideas can be heard.
Transparency Note: Em Readman and Jasmin Graves, Glass editors who contributed to this article, sit on the steering committee for the 0% review.