External, discipline-led academic peer review of courses

The IRU Academic Calibration Process (ACP) is a process of external, discipline-led academic peer review that is undertaken in collaboration with other Innovative Research Universities (IRU).

This national, collaborative initiative provides documented endorsement of the appropriateness and reliability of assessment design, grading methods, learning outcomes and supporting course material, comparative to the sector. In addition, the process provides collaborative support to other IRUs by contributing academic nominees to the pool of peer-reviewers required to fulfil external benchmarking.

Latest courses available for review

Interested in acting as a peer-reviewer for courses requiring benchmarking from other Innovative Research Universities?

Academic Calibration at Griffith

There are two aspects to the Academic Calibration Process:

  1. Nominating Griffith courses for external benchmarking
  2. Griffith academics acting as peer-reviewers for courses requiring benchmarking from other IRUs.

Partnership for the ACP at Griffith includes the IRU Group, Deans (L&T), Deputy Deans (L&T), Heads of School/Department, Program Directors, Course Convenors and Curriculum Consultants, in collaboration with university’s Calibration Coordinator.

Have your course reviewed Be a reviewer

Why do we calibrate?

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) requires Higher Education providers to demonstrate evidence of external benchmarking as part of their re-accreditation process.

TEQSA provides the Higher Education Standards (HES) Framework for guidance. Section 5.3, Monitoring, Review and Improvement of the HES Framework (parts 4.b. and 7) outlines the requisite criteria for external benchmarking. Significantly, the HES Framework came into effect January 1, 2017.

Recommendations for benchmarking focus on the intended academic achievement of student work (e.g. assessment tasks, student work samples and assessment criteria).  In addition, the HES framework includes reference to “mitigating future risk in quality of education provided” as an important criterion of quality.

The ACP supports Griffith University in fulfilling TEQSA’s requirements for external benchmarking by providing a process that is structured and collaborative, identifies strengths and weaknesses that encourage improvement in course quality.

TEQSA website HES Framework

Benefits of calibration

There are multiple benefits to participating in the calibration process, whether you are participating as a reviewer of courses from other institutions or are having your course reviewed.

For being a reviewer

National recognition of expertise

Reviewer selection is based on acknowledgement of discipline expertise and experience in curriculum design.

HEA Fellowship applications

Demonstrating leadership by mentoring others through the provision of peer-feedback leading to change in assessment and course design supports evidence for Descriptor D3_vii of the UKPSF for Senior Fellow HEA applications.

Reflecting on your practice

Reviewers have commented that the calibration process has allowed them to reflect on their own offerings and they have amended their courses at Griffith University as a result of partaking in the IRU ACP. Reflecting on your practice is important and can be useful as part of a portfolio of evidence that can be useful for award and fellowship applications.

Professional learning

Participation in the ACP aligns with the values, capabilities and lifecycle of the Griffith Learning and Teaching Capabilities Framework.

For having your course reviewed

Enhance program quality

Calibration provides an endorsement of the consistency and reliability of assessment and grading methods, comparative to the sector.

Quality Assurance of Courses

External benchmarking augments standard information gathering, metrics, and internal evaluation processes, offering an opportunity to seek external feedback from a discipline-based colleague at another institution.

Consensus Moderation Practices

Appropriate and consistent standards for marking can be reviewed through the benchmarking of assessment practices and student samples.

Award, Grant and HEA Fellowship applications

Feedback gathered from external benchmarking can form part of evidence in Award, Grants and HEA Fellowship applications.

Digital Badge

Participation as a peer-reviewer in the IRU ACP is officially recognised as a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity through Griffith Credentials' digital badging and micro-credentialing scheme. Reviewers will be issued with a Peer Review External Benchmarking Digital Badge that can be displayed in LinkedIn profiles, academic profiles and promotion applications.

Peer Review External Benchmarking Digital Badge

Find out more

How to participate

I want to:

Academic Calibration is a collaborative, transactional process with four key components. Each IRU has an Academic Calibration Coordinator who facilitates and manages the process. Nominating a course is a 4 step process, outlined below.

1. Planning for Calibration

At Griffith, calibration planning focuses on developing a systematic approach to benchmarking starting at the Program level. Academic Groups are encouraged to take a whole of Program approach when selecting courses for calibration – typically 2-3 courses a selected from a Program. This is the most efficient method to creating a portfolio of evidence in quality assurance of student learning.

2. Selecting Courses

Consider the following options, separately or in combination, when selecting courses for calibration:

  • Program wide: Gauge learning across the program by selecting a combination of Capstone, Threshold or Foundation year courses.
  • Assessment restructuring: Calibration can be used to review courses which have undergone extensive assessment restructuring.
  • New offerings: TEQSA recommends calibration is a continuous process, making new offerings ideal for consecutive benchmarking activity.
  • Evaluation: Calibration can be used to evaluate courses that are performing poorly or where cross-campus moderation may be appropriate.

Contact the Calibration Coordinator once you have selected courses for calibration.

3. Review Process

A calibration package for each nominated course is collated and sent for calibration, contact the Calibration Coordinator for assistance. Items required for the calibration package can be found in the following checklist. The IRU reviewer is given four-weeks to evaluate all items and complete a standardised Calibration Report.

4. Actioning Recommendations

On receipt of the Calibration Report, the School or Department together with the Program Director, Course Convenor and L&T Consultant at Griffith University is encouraged to consider the feedback provided by the reviewer and action any recommendations.

Contact the Calibration Coordinator to nominate your course for review

Feedback from a previous participant

Dr Vinod Gopalan

Senior Lecturer

School of Medicine, Griffith Health

My teaching approaches and student learning experiences are regularly peer-reviewed and benchmarked by National/International accreditation bodies such as the Australian Medical Council, Australian Institute of Medical Scientists, Institute of Biomedical Science and Innovative Research University’s Calibration Process.

Dr Vinod Gopalan, winner of a 2018 Griffith Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The ACP is looking for you! We are seeking academics to review a suite of courses from other IRUs. We need your discipline expertise and understanding of curriculum design to provide feedback on learning outcomes, assessment design, grading practices and student learning. Reviewing a course is a 4 step process, outlined below.

1. Find an IRU unit for review

IRU Units available from School or Dept or Griffth ACP site. Select units that:

  • Fall under your area of expertise.
  • You would teach a similar course at Griffith.

2. Nominate as reviewer

Send the Calibration Coordinator: -

  • The unit your are interested in
  • Your details
  • Your CV

The Calibration Coordinator will then add your details to the pool of reviewer nominations.

3. Nomination outcome

The course convenor of the IRU unit is the person who will select the reviewer they feel has the experience and expertise to calibrate their unit. Only one reviewer is selected to calibrate a unit.

4. Reviewing an IRU unit

Reviewers are given 4 weeks to complete the calibration. A calibration package is provided that contains information about the course, the learning outcomes and assessment task to be reviewed. 12 samples of student work also comprise the package. Reviewers are required to provide feedback via a standardised report.

Contact the Calibration Coordinator to nominate as a reviewer

Feedback from a previous participant

Dr Leigh Ellen Potter

Senior Lecturer

Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems, Griffith Sciences

I think it's easier to be an outsider looking in when it comes to reviewing, and I know I've gained insight into my own practices. This experience will definitely improve the development of a third year course that I'll be working on next year.

Dr Leigh Ellen Potter, on reviewing a unit for another IRU

Interested in the Academic Calibration Process?

Contact the Calibration Coordinator for information on how to get started