The University of Melbourne Assessment Policy states that ‘Assessment and grading in subjects must be criterion-referenced and aligned to specific subject learning outcomes, including the graduate attributes and the generic skills they encompass'.
The use of criterion referencing for assessment shifts the focus of assessment and grading away from simply testing and ranking students to using assessment as a teaching and learning method. In criterion-referenced assessment, students are assessed on whether they meet specifically set criteria; such as analysis, evaluation and critique. They are usually set out in assessment criteria, which include the explicit articulation of the criteria that explain what is required to pass or achieve specific grades. In order for students to meet the set criteria they need to know and learn how to achieve the learning outcomes (Biggs & Tang, 2007, p. 177).
Biggs, J., and Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 3rd ed. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw Hill.