Transforming assessment practice: Evidencing and benchmarking student learning outcomes in Chemistry


  • Siegbert Schmid
  • Simon Bedford
  • Adam Bridgeman
  • Glennys O’Brien
  • Ian M. Jamie
  • Gwendolyn Lawrie
  • Samuel Priest
  • Simon Pyke
  • Madeleine Schultz
  • Daniel Southam


Higher Education in Australia is in a phase of rapid change due to a number of regulatory changes. Over the past five years the Australian Chemistry community has agreed on a list of Chemistry Threshold Learning Outcomes (CTLOs) that every student graduating from an Australian University will have attained. In addition, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) has changed its accreditation process for Chemistry degrees and now uses these CTLOs as the basis for accreditation. Therefore, it is now paramount to ensure that our assessment items allow students to demonstrate attainment of the CTLOs during a degree [1]. The “Assessing the Assessments” project, funded by the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT ID14-3562) is developing a framework designed to help academics at tertiary institutions to determine the alignment of their assessment items with the CTLOs. The project is also collating a database of standards-based assessment items. The project team has developed an online pro-forma, allowing self-assessment and submission of assessment items. Through workshops, colleagues are guided through the evaluation of assessment items to determine how they meet or fall short of attainment of specific CTLOs. These workshops are designed to support evaluation of assessment items to ensure that they are CTLO compliant. We will reflect on the first year of this large project and seek suggestions and feedback from the audience. [1] M. Elmgren, F. Ho, E. Åkesson, S. Schmid & M. Towns, J. Chem. Educ. 92, 427- 432 (2015). Comparison and evaluation of learning outcomes from an international perspective: Development of a best-practice process.