Theme 3: Curriculum & Assessment


The following is a collection of AQA resources and selected external weblinks intended to assist New Zealand universities in facilitating excellent student experience and learning outcomes. These pages relate to each of the seven academic activity themes of Cycle 5, plus the overarching topic of 'self-review'. It should be noted that useful and relevant resources are not necessarily limited to those included here. In addition, because of the historical and reflective nature of audit, new or different practices may have emerged including within universities not identified here.

Please note: Where a resource does not derive from an AQA activity, we offer these on the basis that have been assessed or validated by another reputable agency. Readers should note that good practice takes place in context; any activity identified as good practice must be assessed by potential users for relevance and applicability to the context in which it might be used.

Theme 3: Curriculum and Assessment

The Cycle 5 academic audit framework included nine Guideline Statements under this Academic Activity Theme:

3.1 Programme approval
Universities’ internal course and programme approval processes must meet national (CUAP/NZQF) expectations and should include opportunity for input from stakeholders (including Māori) where appropriate.

3.2 Graduate attributes
Universities should have clearly-defined intended graduate outcomes (graduate attributes) which are publicly available and are accessible to students and staff.

3.3 Graduate outcomes
Universities should have processes for ensuring students have the opportunity to meet the intended graduate outcomes (graduate attributes) during their period of study.

3.4 Programme review
Universities should have regular reviews of programmes and courses, including external accreditation reviews, which include input from students and other stakeholders and which are used to ensure curriculum quality.

3.5 Benchmarking programmes
Universities should use processes for benchmarking curriculum and assessment standards to ensure they are nationally and internationally appropriate. (See also 7.4 re thesis assessment)

3.6 Assessment
Universities should use documented procedures for monitoring and moderating assessment processes and standards. (See also 7.4 re thesis assessment)

3.7 Equivalence of learning outcomes
Universities should have formal mechanisms to ensure that learning outcomes of students in programmes taught on other campuses and/or with partner institutions, including those which are overseas, meet the standards expected by the university on its home campus.

3.8 Academic misconduct
Universities should use procedures for addressing academic misconduct, including plagiarism and other forms of cheating.

3.9 Assessment in te reo Māori
Universities should have and, where appropriate, use procedures to facilitate assessment in te reo Māori.

AQA Resources

AQA, 2014. New Zealand University Cycle 5 academic audit reports. (see recommendations, commendations and affirmations) 

AQA, 2014. Frequency of periodic programme and departmental reviews. (a limited review of national and international practice).

AQA, 2014. USP Academic Audit 2013.

AQA, 2013. Cycle 5 Academic Audit Handbook for Universities.

AQA, 2013. Academic Quality in New Zealand Universities: An analysis of academic audit findings 2008 - 2012.

AQA, 2008 - 2012. Cycle 4 academic audit reports. (see recommendations, commendations and affirmations)

Other Resources

Ako Aotearoa, 2013. Graduate Outcomes: Are they driving learning? And who knows about them? Associate Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith (Contact Project Leader), University of Otago.

APFEI, various. Academic Integrity - resources and links.

Barrie, S et al (2014). Assessing and assuring Australian graduate learning outcomes: principles and practices within and across disciplines. OLT (Australia) project report. Lead Institution: University of Sydney. Partner institutions: University of Queensland and University of Western Sydney. 

Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Australia), 2010 onwards. Research publications (link to resources).

CUAP, 2018. Committee on University Academic Programmes Handbook 2018.

Julianne East, 2009. Aligning Policy and Practice: An approach to integrating academic integrity. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, Vol 3, No 1 (2009).

ECA, various. Joint Programmes - various resources. Includes lessons learnt and good practices for developing and managing joint programmes (across more than one institution).

The Higher Education Academy (UK), various. Addressing Plagiarism.

The Higher Education Academy JISC (UK), 2010. Supporting academic integrity: Approaches and resources for higher education.

The Higher Education Academy (UK), various. Assessment and Feedback (research and resources including related to academic integrity and external examining).

AP Romy Lawson, Professor Tracy Taylor, James Herbert, AP Eveline Fallshaw, AP Erica French, Dr Cathy Hall, AP Shelley Kinash, AP Jane Summers, 2013. Hunters and Gatherers: strategies for curriculum mapping and data collection for assuring learning.

Dr Saadia Mahmud and Dr Tracey Bretag, 2013. Academic Integrity Standards: Aligning Policy and Practice in Australian Universities. The lead institution for this project was The University of South Australia and the partner institutions were La Trobe University, The University of Newcastle, The University of Western Australia, and the University of Wollongong.

Dr Bhuva Narayan and Professor Sylvia Edwards, commissioned by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Limited, 2011. Good Practice Report: Curriculum Renewal.

NZQA, 2013. Effective practice in preventing and detecting academic fraud.

NZQA. New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Office of Learning and Teaching (Australia), various. Good Practice Resources. (searchable database)

Professor Beverley Oliver, commissioned by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Limited, 2011. Good Practice Report: Assuring Graduate Outcomes.

QAA, 2013. Review of transnational education in Mainland China 2012 (includes case studies for undertaking transnational education which the report suggests will be applicable to other countries as well as China).

QAA, 2013. UK Quality Code for Higher Education. (see B1: Programme design and approval, B3: Learning and Teaching, B6: Assessment of students, B7: External examining, and B8 Programme monitoring and review)

QAA, 2011 onwards. Developing and Supporting the Curriculum. (Enhancement theme 2011 - 2014; resources, case studies and research).

QAA, 2008 onwards. Graduates for the 21st Century. (Enhancement theme 2008 - 2011; resources, case studies and research).

QAA, 2006 onwards. Research-Teaching Linkages: enhancing graduate attributes. (Enhancement theme 2006 - 2008; resources, case studies and research).

QAA, 2005 onwards. Integrative assessment (Enhancement theme 2005 - 2006; resources, case studies and research).

Professor John Rice, commissioned by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Limited, 2011. Good Practice Report: Assessment of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.

TEQSA, 2015. TEQSA Guidance Note: Benchmarking. 


Last updated: July 2018