I have some experience at setting assessment tasks and grading the resulting answers. One of the most common errors students (and everyone else) commit is not reading the question carefully. Another error that everyone commits is providing the correct answer to a different question.
As loathe as I am to support the ANU, this is what has happened in this situation:
One of the modules, on self-determination and autonomy, deals with the issue of a treaty and requires candidates to take a quiz to test their knowledge. They are asked to address the statement: “Legally, we cannot have a modern treaty process in Australia”, with the correct answer being “False”. Those who respond “True” are required to try again in order to progress through the quiz. The exercise, according to critics, fails to acknowledge that the legality of such a treaty — specifically whether a country can sign a treaty with itself or its own people — is widely contested.
I haven’t done this particular module – no doubt I will soon. But I have done lots of similar type modules. Very often the assessment requires a 100% pass mark. So there is nothing sinister in staff having to repeat the assessment if they got the answer to that question wrong.
The correct answer to the question is indeed, “False”. Whether or not a treaty process is controversial or contested is a political question, not a legal question. True – there are so many political judges around that the distinction between the law and politics has become blurred, but nonetheless there is a distinction between the two ideas. In fact, that is one of the finest notions in western civilisation.