Academic Calibration Program

The IRU Universities are distinctive in their commitment to broadening participation in higher education providing a quality valuable lifelong education base for all our graduates.

We draw our students from suburban, peri-urban, regional and remote areas of Australia, with high proportions of disadvantaged and ‘first in family’ students.

At the same time, we are also research intensive and innovative in the way we address some common problems in higher education.

As a group the IRU members are confronting the challenges of the digital economy which is both changing the nature of work for most and opening up many opportunities to change how university education is enjoyed.

The IRU Academic Calibration Program (ACP) is a practical sign of our commitment and the potential from universities working together. It is an external peer review process that is undertaken in collaboration with other Innovative Research Universities. Each university gets considered feedback from academic staff in another university about the standard of work required for each assessment outcomes.

1. Engagement 2. Preparation
Each university selects units they would like to calibrate. These are distributed to calibration coordinators at each university to find suitable calibrators. The unit coordinator will select one assessment task from the unit, and collate student samples and supporting materials relating to the unit; Student samples are de-identified and sent on to the calibrating university.
3. Review 4. Evaluation
The calibrator receives materials to evaluate all items provided and fill out the templated reports provided. Once the review process is complete, a short process evaluation will be filled out by both the calibrator and unit coordinator to allow for continuous review and improvement of the calibration process.


Unit and Course Coordinators Calibrators Schools, Faculties, and Universities
  • ACP is a good opportunity to reflect on your unit and assessment outside of standard information gathering, metrics, and internal evaluation processes by having the opportunity to seek external feedback from a discipline based colleague at another institution.
  • Becoming a calibrator is notable as request for nominations go to all IRU institutions, and you are selected based on your experience in the discipline and your well-developed sense of academic standards.
  • ACP meets a HESF requirement
  • ACP is intended to be collegial and constructive, and you will receive an evaluation that either affirms your work, or provides useful feedback on how you could improve
  • ACP is also a good form of professional development, and gives you the opportunity to experience and evaluate a unit from your discipline from another institution.
  • Having calibrated units within your school/faculty means you can contextualise assessment and grading of your units in a broader national context.
  • ACP demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement which is beneficial for professional development
  • In many cases in the pilot phase calibrators reported there was a cross-pollination of ideas, and they too learnt how they could improve their units from the evaluation of others.
  • Calibration is documented endorsement of the consistency and reliability of your school/faculties assessment and grading methods, comparative to the sector.
  • ACP reports can positively support existing processes such as course review, and professional accreditation of courses.
  • ACP contributes to proactive improvement of units, continually raising the standard of learning and teaching

Peer Review of Curriculum module

The IRU has produced an open resource for university staff who plan to become a calibrator for the Innovative Research Universities academic calibration process, provide a peer review to an internal colleague, or sit on a committee that reviews proposals for new degree programs and new units. The module explores the principles of providing feedback, the practicalities of peer review and some top tips to get you started. After completing the module, you will be able to:

  1. Apply the principles of giving feedback when you are conducting a peer review
  2. Describe the different ways in which peer review of curriculum may be applied
  3. Explain the importance of ensuring curricula are inclusive
  4. Create a plan for your next steps.


Name Institution Email
TBC La Trobe University
Alison Black

Alyson Liew

Suraiya Howlett

Murdoch University

Anna Smith Flinders University
TBC Griffith University
Mariana Van Niekerk James Cook University
UC Benchmarking University of Canberra
Urvee Somaiya

Sarah Jones

Maria Djekic

Western Sydney University