Assessment in Higher Education
- Linda Carey Centre for Educational Development
- Queen’s University Belfast
- “Assessment is at the heart of student experience”
- Brown and Knight (1994)
- “If you want to change student learning then change the method of assessment”
- Brown, Bull & Pendlebury (1997)
Aligning the learning outcomes and the assessment (Biggs, 2002)
- Defining the intended learning outcomes
- Choosing teaching/learning activities likely to lead to attaining the learning outcomes
- Assessing students’ learning outcomes to see how well they match what was intended
- Arriving at a final grade
- “Students learn what they think they’ll be assessed on, not what’s in the curriculum.
- The trick is, then, to make sure the assessment tasks mirror what you intended them to learn”
- Biggs, 2002, page 6
Modes of assessment
- How is assessment carried out?
- Tutor assessment
- Peer or self assessment
- On-line assessment (usually MCQs)
Summative assessment (educational)
Summative assessment (employment)
- To provide feedback to students to improve their learning
- To provide a profile of what a student has learnt
- To help students to develop their skills of self assessment
- To motivate students - possibly through goal setting
Range of assessment methods
- Unseen, closed book exam: essay answers, short question answers, combination
- Open book exam
- Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) exam
- Course work: essay, report, project
- Learning Journal
- Presentation and/or poster
- Peer or self assessment
- Task 1: Discuss in groups
- What assessment methods do you use?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of these methods?
Some common problems with assessment (partially based on material presented by William Thompson at Queen’s University, Belfast 2010 )
- The assessment tasks do not match the stated learning outcomes
- The marking criteria do not match the tasks or outcomes
- The criteria are not known to students
- Students do not understand the criteria
- Overuse of one mode of assessment such as written examinations, essays, MCQs
- Assessment overload for students and staff
- Insufficient time for students to do the assignments
- Too many assignments with the same deadline
- Insufficient time for staff to mark the assignments or examinations
- Absence of well defined criteria so consistency is difficult to achieve
- Unduly specific criteria which create a straitjacket for students and make marking burdensome for lecturers
- Inadequate or superficial feedback provided to students
- Wide variations in marking between modules and assessors and within assessors (self-consistency)
- Variations in assessment demands of different modules
- Lack of programmatic assessment
Designing effective assessment
- What are the outcomes to be assessed?
- What are the capabilities/skills (implicit or explicit) in the outcomes?
- Is the method of assessment chosen consonant with the outcomes and skills?
- Is the method relatively efficient in terms of student time and staff time?
- What alternative types of assessment are there? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
- Does the specific assessment task match the outcomes and skills?
- Are the marking schemes or criteria appropriate?
Effective feedback (Sadler, 1989)
- To benefit from feedback students should
- Know the goal or standard being aimed for
- Compare their performance with the goal or standard
- Take action to close the gap
- Make sense of the feedback
- Know what actions to take
- Does the feedback relate to the assessment criteria?
- Is it linked directly to the student’s work?
- Is the feedback timely?
- Is it understandable to the learner?
- Language clear and jargon-free
- How much feedback do you provide?
- Sufficient but not overwhelming
Good Practice in Giving Feedback
- Does it include positive as well as negative comments?
- Does it clearly prioritise areas for improvement?
- Does it focus on action points: what does the student needs to do to improve next time?
Task 2: Aligning assessment with learning outcomes
- Complete the assessment grid for a module you teach:
- What are the learning outcomes?
- How will you assess each learning outcome?
- What are the weightings for each assessment task?
The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2016