Assessment and feedback

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Presentation made by Serena Bufton, Sheffield Hallam University, 1/11/10

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Assessment and feedback

  1. 1. Assessment and Feedback Serena Bufton Faculty Teaching Fellow
  2. 2. Planning Context • SHU Assessment and Feedback Policy (April 2008) • D&S Feedback Policy (July 2010) • SHU new Standard Assessment Regulations and Assessment Improvement Precepts (October 2010).
  3. 3. Faculty Feedback Policy • Draws on SHU Assessment and Feedback Policy (‘assessment for learning’) and Faculty priorities. • Emphasises the importance of formative feedback in module and course design and supportive summative feedback for all assessments. • Has implications for assessment design: a more incremental approach in which students build up towards the assessment task, getting feedback on the way?
  4. 4. SHU Assessment Improvement Precepts • Two assessment models: – Model A: a maximum of 6 tasks per module; up to 3 is the preferred number; pass or fail overall (not all tasks necessarily need to be passed). – Model B: a maximum of 3 tasks per module; 2 is the preferred number; all tasks must be passed. • Model A is the default model: modules being validated for 2011/12 will only be allowed Model B status in a few contexts.
  5. 5. Conditions for Model B • Professional Body requirements. • ‘subject discipline and/or legislative requirements (eg health and safety) which generally can be evidenced and which would damage the employability of students if they were not recognised’ • Applications for Model B assessment have to be approved by the Faculty Implementation Team before validation and agreed by the Secretary and Registrar. ‘Case law’ will be established.
  6. 6. Implications for Course Planning • If Model B is being planned, there needs to be a rationale and evidence to support this as early as possible so that agreement can be sought. • In the case of Model A, the implications for module design and assessment strategy need careful planning, especially the relationship between assessment tasks and learning outcomes.
  7. 7. Learning Outcomes (LOs) • These should cover knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, subject-specific skills and key skills (QAA). • Subject Benchmark Statements identify discipline- specific LOs. • Existing SHU advice (LTI ‘Guides’) imply a firm link between LOs and assessment tasks. • Custom and practice may therefore be that LOs are attached to tasks rather than to the module as a whole. • The University’s current position is that all LOs have to be passed.
  8. 8. Implications for Assessment Design • Under Model B, as all tasks have to be passed, this is not a problem. • Under Model A, students passing a module overall may not meet all the learning outcomes. • How therefore can assessment design under Model A ensure that all LOs are met? • Advice has been repeatedly requested from the University. In the meantime, some suggestions:
  9. 9. Designing assessment for Model A • Learning outcomes are achieved at the completion of the module: ‘By the end of the module, students will be able to...’ • The logical implications of this are either: – end-loading the assessment: one (or more) task at the end of the module (not ideal) OR – designing each assessment task in such a way that it covers all the learning outcomes (over-assessment?) OR – Writing very general learning outcomes (how are these different, then, to aims and objectives?).
  10. 10. Could we do something more pedagogically sound? For example: • Weight the assessment tasks so that students have to pass the last task in order to pass the module overall (eg a 30%/70% split); the last task covers all the Los. In addition: • Break each learning outcome into its constituent parts and assess these on a cumulative basis (staged assessment tasks: low stakes summative mark plus formative feedback for the next task). • Any other suggestions?
  11. 11. Things to think about • Designing the assessment and feedback strategy and course content concurrently. • Thinking about ways of maximising formative feedback. • Looking early on at the balance of assessment activities across and between levels of study. • Presenting a case for Model B as soon as possible if this is being planned in.
  12. 12. How we can help • We have no answers; there are no prescribed ways of responding to the University and Faculty ‘givens’ in assessment design. • Our role is to support you. • We can make suggestions and work with individuals and teams as they plan their modules and courses. • We will also maintain pressure to get more information and guidance from the University and pass this on to course planning teams.

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