In line with McGill’s mission and principles, and after an extensive process of reflection, research, and consultation, it was determined it was necessary to rethink the way we approach assessment at McGill to better support student learning and well-being. Underlying this new approach are guiding principles, which promote assessment practices that are fair, equitable, inclusive, academically rigorous, pedagogically sound, and based on established criteria rather than norms or rankings.
USAP, McGill’s existing assessment policy, remains in place until Fall 2024 when PASL comes into effect. Changes required by PASL do not need to be reflected until that time. However, changes in assessment practices benefit from trial and error, and instructors are encouraged to begin adapting their practices where necessary and preparing assessment materials as soon as possible.
Yes! Instructors can make changes to their course outlines now if what is included aligns with USAP. For example, instructors can signal to students that they will give formative feedback before the official course withdrawal date (PASL 5.3) or outline expectations for all assessment tasks by detailing explicit criteria to describe the key elements of students’ learning (PASL 5.5). Find resources for instructors to assist with PASL implementation.
Faculties can adapt aspects of the Policy to support local contexts. For example, adjustments may need to be made in the context of degree programs in which assessment is linked to professional competencies that lead to certification. In another example, Faculties can decide on the process by which third-party rereads occur as long as they align with the Policy. The development of local guidelines is already underway. Consult your academic unit for more information.
This terminology is part of an attempt to move away from the notion of judgment implied in the evaluation of a student or their work. Moreover, assessment does not necessarily have an evaluative component. Read how assessment is defined in PASL and find out more about assessment for learning.
Grading refers to assigning a grade to an assessment task. In focusing on assessment for learning, PASL seeks to shift the focus from earning grades to assuring learning, in order to promote student success and uphold the University’s high academic standards.
You can also find answers to common questions in this McGill Reporter article: Paving the way for a new approach to student assessment
Check out our frequently asked questions for a list of questions we’ve compiled to date or send us your outstanding questions using the form below. We aim to respond within five business days.
If you are an instructor needing support with implementing changes to your assessment practices, you can also book a consultation with Teaching and Learning Services.