SAO Assessment

Assessment Tasks

The following information is indicative only. Exact figures can be found by following the links available here or here.

Assessment for Swinburne Astronomy Online units do not include examinations: assessment is made up of a balanced mix of essays, projects, computer-managed tests and newsgroup contributions. In most (non-Major Project) units, the final grade breakdown is as follows:

  • essay or project contributes up to 50%
  • two online tests (Computer Managed Test, CMT) contribute up to 20%
  • newsgroups contribute up to 30%

In the Unit AST80018, rather than an essay or project, an assessment item referred to as the 'Time Assignment Submission' includes a group work component, and in total contributes up to 50%.

Students are given a range of project topics to choose from, including a number of projects specifically focussed on curriculum development, data analysis, amateur observing, astronomy & society, and some even use the Centre's supercomputer. Students also have the opportunity to design their own project topics. To see the result of one of our more unusual 'own project' choices, visit the Sagan Memorial Planet Walk Website at, designed and put together by SAO participant Richard 'Doc' Kinne.

Newsgroup participation involves regular postings of queries and responses about the course content and textbook reading. A lively and informative dialogue is built up between participants, as well as with the unit instructors.

Grade Scale

Final grades in all SAO units are awarded on the scale*:

    High Distinction HD 80% - 100%
    Distinction D 70% - 79%
    Credit C 60% - 69%
    Pass P 50% - 59%
    Not Pass N 0% - 49%

*Note that these scales have changed from Semester 1, 2014. Grades given prior to this (Semester 2, 2013 and before) will not be retrospectively changed.

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