SACWG Seminar – The efficiency and effectiveness of assessment in challenging times – Part 1

I attended a seminar by the Student Assessment and Classification Working Group last Thursday in London. The title of the seminar was “The efficiency and effectiveness of assessment in challenging times”.

Given the title of the seminar, I thought the use of technologies in assessment and feedback would be heavily discussed. However, other than electronic marking, I don’t think there were a lot of discussions around the use of technologies in assessment and feedback. While I would have like a bit more discussions on the different use of technologies in assessment and feedback, I did really enjoy the discussions and the way it focused on pedagogy rather than just technology.

Many of the discussions seem to be around change management and highlighted a common concern across the sector – how do we get academic to change their assessment practice? The key message seems to be that it is no longer enough for individual staff to change but the discussions highlighted the need for more  award/course level assessment, where teaching staff need to get together and design assessment that compliment each other and achieve the overall learning goals of the course, rather than just an individual module.

This connection and understanding between module leaders is what we hope the assessment diaries would also facilitate. The initial idea when implementing the diaries was to focus on the issue of assessment bunching,  but we have seen departments using the diaries to re-look at their award’s assessment diet.  We were told that the team having sat down and use the assessment diaries as a tool to discuss the entire assessment diet has resulted in much better student experience. One department even had a significant improvement in their NSS results on assessment and feedback.

Now that we are starting our interviews with staff, I do wonder how many of our staff who uses the dairies sees it as a tool to review their award’s assessment diet. Or do they simply see the dairies as another hoops to jump through and just put the dates in?

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One Response to SACWG Seminar – The efficiency and effectiveness of assessment in challenging times – Part 1

  1. Haydn Blackey says:

    Really interesting reflections Alice. Assessment Diaries can be a powerful tool, but unless a culture of academics focussed on student experience exists they can be ignored. So you are right, the focus is on culture change, not on the technology.

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