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:
- Nominating Griffith courses for external benchmarking
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feedback from a previous participant
Dr Vinod Gopalan
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.
Feedback from a previous participant
Dr Leigh Ellen Potter
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
FAQ and helpful guides
FAQ for Prospective Participants
Information for academics who are interested in having a course reviewed, or becoming a reviewer.
Guide for Academic Groups
Information for Academic Groups selecting courses for review through the Academic Calibration Process
Program Director and Course Convenor Guide
Information for Program directors and Course convenors undertaking course review through the Academic Calibration Process
Information for reviewers in the Academic Calibration Process