Please Sir, May I have some more exams?


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Please Sir, May I have some more exams?

  1. 1. “Please Sir, May I have some more exams?”The student perspective on assessment activities.<br />Becka Colley<br />Dean of Students<br />National Teaching Fellow<br />
  2. 2. Areas of Focus…<br />Changing nature of student population and expectations about learning environments<br />Attitudes towards assessment processes<br />Dealing with feedback<br />
  3. 3. But first…<br />What goes through the mind of a student in an exam??<br /><br />
  4. 4. Key Issues<br />Preparation for assessments<br />Process of sitting assessments<br />Feedback on performance<br />Learning from and implementing change<br />
  5. 5. How do students think they learn best?<br />“I prefer practical learning as I like to do things and get bored when just listening to someone talking. I do quite well when working in a group as well as it gives me more ideas and opinions” <br />“Through repetition. I like to study independently initially but then to consolidate the learning I like to discuss it and have feedback on it. I have a low attention span and so find a lot of reading and quiet time very hard work. I like to interact with people and so the discussion and debate of ideas appeals to me greatly” <br />“I learn best from doing things or thinking through a problem with other people or by writing something down, drawing it. I don't learn much by just reading something”<br />
  6. 6. The Impact of ‘massification’<br />Over last 20 years Higher education has undergone radical and unprecedented change (Education Act, 1992; Dearing Report, 1997; Roberts Report, 2003; Leitch Report, 2006; Browne, 2010; CSR, 2010)<br />Learners are entering with different expectations and assumptions about their experiences<br />The student body has become dramatically more heterogeneous and has fragmented in some cases<br />
  7. 7. Universities 2.0?<br />Diversity of entry routes<br />Issues of dealing with developing autonomy<br />Earning whilst learning<br />Disengaged learners seeking qualification<br />Pressures on the system and individuals<br />Changing processes within an inflexible system<br />Tradition and history<br />
  8. 8. In the context of…<br />“Certain tutors appear arrogant and unwilling to listen to student's views. Tutors are often unable to make lectures interesting and/or teach the subject matter in a way that clearly communicates the information and is stimulating. £3,000+ per year definitely not worth it.” [quote from NSS]<br />
  9. 9. We all know what an exam looks like, don’t we??<br />
  10. 10. The Rules<br />We are very good at saying what we think the students should do…<br />But less effective at helping them learn from the process.<br />
  11. 11. “Some final exam questions were too vague so there was too much to write about and not enough time.”<br />“I didn't have access to exam papers after they were marked…I had to wait too long for exam results.”<br />“The marking scheme for the exams, we should be able to view [it].”<br />
  12. 12. Change…<br />
  13. 13. What do you want?<br />Process of review of academic offer<br />Structure of academic year<br />Process of assessment<br />Timing of assessments<br />
  14. 14. Student Union Feedback<br /> There was a strong preference to retain two exam sessions. This was felt to be more manageable in terms of revision. Students were not in favour of one exam session at the end of the academic year. A staged approach with summative assessment was viewed as the most appropriate. Also, January exams give an opportunity for students to ‘trial’ their exam revision and writing skills.<br />[UBU feedback on review of the academic year, June 2011]<br />
  15. 15. Practice Makes Perfect…<br />“No regular mid term exams therefore its makes it difficult to see academic progress until at the end of term.”<br />“Throughout the year they don't really give us mock exams, I'd prefer it if they give mocks so we know where our progressions are at, I think they should put more pressure on us with regular mock exams the revisions wouldn't pile up at the end of the year.”<br />
  16. 16. Feedback<br /> “Feedback on assessment plays a crucial role in a student’s learning, self-esteem and future development.” [NUS, 2010]<br />
  17. 17. Feedback<br />“Feedback on failed exams not really given and I believe that information can be given so that the students know where they are going wrong.”<br />“The exams mark scheme is never explained, so we don't know what exactly examiners want.”<br />
  18. 18. Change…<br />
  19. 19. Making it real<br />Authentic assessment:<br /> “…an individual must be capable of performing meaningful tasks in the real world” [Mueller, 2011]<br />How can we make this happen?<br />
  20. 20. From this…<br />To that…<br />
  21. 21. Examples of authenticity<br />Department of Biomedical Sciences: <br />Combination of web-based genetic research tool (BLAST) with MCQs to deliver authentic, real-life tasks which require application of knowledge and understanding in a real-life professional context<br />Can be assessed automatically = great for large numbers of students <br />
  22. 22. Examples of authenticity<br />School of Medical Sciences: <br />Use of formative “e-assessment for learning” (in F42 and via VLE) to deliver automatic generic feedback to students. <br />Work has been carried out on delivering question level feedback and topic based feedback – students would appear to best appreciate a combination of these. <br />
  23. 23. Examples of authenticity<br />School of Optometry: <br />Use F42 for “Active problem-based learning” <br />Formative group based case studies<br />Information is automatically and gradually released during process<br />Students make joint decisions, then receive email feedback. <br />Group focus initially then individual summative process<br />
  24. 24. Other Developments<br />“Hybrid” assessments<br />Some questions automatically marked, others done by a human<br />More efficient use of human resources to allow time to be spent on students and feedback processes.<br />
  25. 25. Other Developments<br />School of Health Studies, School of Management and School of Lifelong Education and Development: <br />Using e-peer assessment<br />Students grading performance and/or give feedback collaborative group tasks. <br />This assessment can take place either all together in the e-assessment suite or remotely via the VLE.<br />
  26. 26. F42<br />
  27. 27. F42<br />Dedicated 100 seatere-assessment cluster <br />Part of e-strategy/JISC-funded “ITS4SEA” project<br />First used January 2009<br />use for summative e-assessment has gradually increased:<br />Useage: 2500 different students, from more than 30 modules covering range of subject areas across disciplines <br />
  28. 28. F42<br />
  29. 29. F42<br />Pleasant, conducive surroundings<br />Easier to customise what is visible on the student desktop for extra security &flexibility<br />Easier to invigilate (more secure)<br />Thin client technology more secure, easier/quicker to control and manage<br />Separate area for students who need extra time<br />
  30. 30. F42<br />Use of smartcards now enables multiple simultaneous different exams in the room<br />Have an “overflow” room in Student Central (30 students) to raise capacity to 130<br />
  31. 31. Ten Ways to Change Undergraduate Education<br />Make Research-Based Learning the Standard<br />Construct an Inquiry-Based Freshman Year<br />Build on the Freshman Foundation <br />Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Education<br />Link Communication Skills and Course Work<br />Use Information Technology Creatively <br />Culminate with a Capstone Experience<br />Educate Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers<br />Change Faculty Reward Systems<br />Cultivate a Sense of Community<br />The Boyer Commission on<br />Educating Undergraduates<br />in the Research University: REINVENTING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION<br />Boyer, 1999<br />
  32. 32. Organisational system<br />HE system<br />Academic system<br />Social system<br />Student relations<br />Student engagement & belonging<br />Professional services system<br />Dispositions & capacities<br />May & Thomas, 2010<br />
  33. 33. There are some positives!<br />“The way we are assessed in different ways helps us develop a wide variety of skills”<br />“Feedback for exams has always been fast and detailed”<br />“Exam papers that are put up on BB for revision are also a very useful tool in terms of the style of questions asked and the answers that are required”<br />
  34. 34. Any Questions?!<br />
  35. 35. <Thank you!/><br />