Improving your assessment and feedback practice
In 2005, Race et al told us that ‘nothing we do to our students is more important than our assessment of their work and the feedback we give them on it’. We also know that ‘assessment is the engine that drives learning’ (Cowan, 2005) and that ‘feedback is the oil which can lubricate this engine’ (Race, 2005). In creating this Toolkit, we hope that it will support you to consider the assessments and the feedback you provide, ask if they are supporting your students to learn and if the evidence suggests not, enable you to make changes to really improve your students’ learning and so their experience at Glasgow.
Route to change
The Principles of Assessment and Feedback for Learning, designed for the University of Glasgow, indicate the direction in which we hope our practice will move. We want the emphasis to be on assessment and feedback that supports and encourages learning, not simply on testing knowledge (although there is, of course, also a place for some of this). Assessment and the associated feedback should support our students to evaluate their achievements and allow them to see how they can improve. We should be providing multiple opportunities for students to practice (formative assessment) and receive feedback before they are asked to demonstrate their learning in high-stakes summative assessment. By approaching assessment and feedback in this way we hope to make a step-change in our assessment and feedback practice as university that will positively influence our students and enhance their skills as learners.
What you should consider when changing your practice
There are a multitude of things to consider when evaluating current, or designing new, assessment and feedback practices and many ways to approach it. A great place to start in your design is with the Essentials of Assessment and Feedback for Learning and to decide if your assessment and feedback practices/strategies tick all of the boxes. If not, start your design by ensuring that it does meet all of these requirements. If your strategies do tick all the essential boxes, then look to the University’s Principles of Assessment and Feedback for Learning. Choose one or two (or more) that fit with what you are trying to achieve with your students and then consider ways in which you might achieve this. Look in the assessment and the feedback sections of the toolkit for some ideas and at the case studies to see how colleagues at the University are approaching similar topics for some ideas. If you would like to discuss assessment and feedback strategies, please contact your College contact at the Learning and Teaching Centre.
Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology
In 2013, the Jisc Assessment and Feedback programme published a report on supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology. Amongst other things, they concluded that the technology now exists for universities to manage assessment and feedback, including submission and marking, and that the data produced is a rich source of information for continuing to enhance learning (Ferell, 2013). At the University of Glasgow we are currently using: Moodle, MyCampus, Speedwell, Aropa, PeerWise and YACRS (and many more) to support assessment and feedback. If you would like to know about how to use these technologies in supporting formative and summative assessment and feedback, please see the university webpages.
Race, P. Brown, S. and Smith, B. (2005) 500 tips on assessment. 2nd Edition, London. Routledge.
Cowan, J. (2005) In: Designing assessment to enhance student learning. http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/workshop/designing-assessment-to-enhance-student-learning-paper.pdf
Race, P. (2005) In: Designing assessment to enhance student learning. http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/workshop/designing-assessment-to-enhance-student-learning-paper.pdf
Ferrell, G. (2013) Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology: from tinkering to transformation. Final synthesis report for the Jisc Assessment and Feedback programme. http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5450/4/Jisc_AF_Final_Synthesis_Report_Oct_2013_v2.pdf