Book cover of Cultivating Capstones: Designing High-Quality Culminating Experiences for Student Learning, edited by Caroline J. Ketcham, Anthony G. Weaver, and Jessie L. Moore

This chapter describes a quality assurance system of collaborative sharing across multiple institutions in Australia and explores, through participant reflections, how such practice can help promote staff confidence and improve facilitation of capstone tasks in the tertiary setting resulting in benefits that derive from a multi-institution approach. A project team consisting of peers from similar disciplines across several institutions in Australia worked together on the project funded by the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT). Their work verified student attainment standards in the revised national Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) (2015) using capstone tasks in coursework at their given institutions. The External Referencing of Standards (ERoS) project was a collaboration between four universities each located in different States: University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Victoria, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Queensland and Curtin University in Western Australia. This chapter describes the ERoS project, the objectives, and outputs so that other institutions can adapt and employ similar models to ensure quality assessment in their capstone tasks and beyond.

Discussion Questions

  • This chapter discusses the influence of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) on the capstone experiences in Australia. How might oversight from an external agency such as TEQSA inform the quality of the capstone?
  • In multi-institutional partnerships like the ERoS project, what are the overall benefits to each university and its constituents? What institutions could your school partner with on this type of project?
  • Discuss ways in which your institution participates in multi-institutional assessments for the capstone experience. If your university does not participate in these types of assessment partnerships, what have been the barriers?
  • The authors provide four key points for other academics to consider when becoming involved in a sharing and evaluating approach similar to ERoS. Review and reflect on those key takeaways. What points do you believe you are currently doing? What points prove to be the most difficult for you in your current career stage?