Where do you start?
When thinking about transforming assessment and the methods you might like to use, there are a number of things to consider. These include: what are you trying to achieve; what is the context in which the learning and teaching take place; what are the intended learning outcomes for the course/programme and are they being assessed; what assessment methods do you already use; what year are your students in and how much experience do they have; what resources do you have available and what do you believe will really allow your students to demonstrate their learning, not just their familiarity with one assessment method?
Considerations in transforming assessment
As we suggest above, there are many things to consider when thinking about transforming assessment for your course(s). To start with, what are you trying to achieve? Maybe you want to engage your students more with your subject and in their learning, perhaps you want to make the assessment tasks more authentic, valid or reliable, maybe you want to introduce an element of choice or ownership over assessment to the students, or perhaps the ways you use of assessing at the moment encourage plagiarism or are simply the methods you’ve always used and they are a bit worn out. These are all good reasons to transform assessment practice, and there are many more too.
The next points to consider are around your course and your students. These include acknowledging the context is in which the learning and teaching takes place; is it, for example, a professional degree programme or do you have benchmarking statements to align with. With regards your students you need to consider what their expectations are of assessment, what year grouping they are and therefore how much experience they have of assessment at University. You would certainly expect final year students to be more comfortable than first year students and you would expect to assess their understanding to a much deeper level. You also need to be aware of the assessment methods you and others, use, and therefore what methods your students are comfortable with, and you need to be sure that any assessment method you use, assesses the intended learning outcomes of your course. You will need to be cognizant of the resources available to you and finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to be clear that the method you choose really will allow your students to demonstrate their learning, not just their familiarity with one assessment method.