What is PASL?

The Policy on Assessment of Student Learning (PASL) will come into effect
in Fall 2024!

The Policy on Assessment of Student Learning (PASL) is intended to provide a framework for assessment practices at McGill. The new principles-based Policy will replace the existing University Student Assessment Policy (USAP) in Fall 2024. 

PASL will apply to all undergraduate and graduate courses for which credit is earned and students receive a final grade on an official McGill transcript.

PASL is core to McGill's mission of advancing learning as it centres assessment for learning.

PASL: Rhymes with tassel

Assessment for learning:

  • Allows for fair, meaningful, and effective assessment of a student’s learning.
  • Creates a learning environment that is both healthy and rigorous.
  • Helps to determine whether planned learning outcomes are achieved.

A focus on assessment design can have a significant impact on student learning and may be the most important area of focus to help students learn (Brown, 2004-05).

► Read more about assessment for learning.


After several years of discussion, research, and community consultation, it was determined that the existing assessment Policy (USAP) was no longer aligned with the University’s mission and best practices of promoting student learning, so a complete rethink was necessary.

► Read more about the background and process of developing PASL.

Guiding principles

PASL outlines a set of common principles, which serve as an overarching framework for the Policy and allow for flexibility to adapt the Policy to local contexts.

Faculties and units are able to develop local guidelines and procedures adapted to their disciplines and contexts but consistent with the Policy and its guiding principles.

Assessments should:

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Align with healthy teaching and learning environments

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Promote high academic standards and academic integrity

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Be pedagogically sound

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Allow for valid and reliable judgment of student learning

► Read more about the guiding principles and key concepts underlying PASL.

Key policy topics

In addition to the principles, PASL outlines policy on several different topics, including:

  • Right to fair assessment (Section 5)
  • Communication of course assessment tasks (Section 6)
  • Reasonable accommodation for students (Section 7)
  • Third party rereads (Section 8)
  • Examination and final assessment tasks (Section 9)
  • Process for contesting assessment (Section 10)

► Read more about the Policy details and key differences from USAP.

PASL implementation timeline

May 2022: Senate approves PASL; Preparation period: Faculties and units and prepare guidelines and procedures adapted to thei disciplines / Instructors should begin preparing assessment tasks in anticipation of PASL implementation. Fall 2024: Pasl comes into effect across McGill.

The two-year implementation period recognizes the time required for assessment practices to change (2022 - 2024).

Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) will support academic units and instructors over this period with strategies, tools, and resources for implementing PASL.

► Read more about the development and approval process of PASL.



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Beyond Grading is returning to McGill!

TLS is pleased to announce the return of Beyond Grading, our symposium series on assessment strategies at McGill. Visit mcgill.ca/beyondgrading

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New resource! Examples of assessment tools

Find a bank of example rubrics and other assessment tools used by McGill instructors that you can adapt to your course context. Learn more.

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Paving the way for a new approach to student assessment

Find answers to some common questions in this McGill Reporter article. Read more.


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