Case Studies on Streamlining Assessment

37 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2003

See all articles by Win Hornby

Win Hornby

Robert Gordon University - Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT); Robert Gordon University - Aberdeen Business School

Date Written: May 2003

Abstract

As the number of students increases and the unit of resource is stretched, academic staff are finding that the pressure on traditional forms of assessments is mounting. Consequently a number of unintended consequences arise as a result of the coping strategies that are frequently adopted by both staff and students. Evidence of these unintended consequences comes from our own internal audit processes, which reveal all the symptoms of overassessment. These may be summarised as follows:

-Slow feedback to students

-Little meaningful feedback

-Almost no formative assessment by which students can learn from their mistakes

-Learning outcomes assessed several times with little or no rationale for this.

-No correlation between credit points and student workload on assignments

-No correlation between credit points and staff workload on assignments

-No mechanisms for co-ordinating assessment between modules resulting in students being assessed in the same way for almost all their modules.

-"Bunching" of assessments which results in students "opting out" of classes or assessments

What the internal quality processes reveal are some if not all of the above symptoms.

The paper then outlines a number of possible strategies discussed in the research literature for streamlining assessment. These can be summarised as:

1. Strategic Reduction of Summative Assessment

2. Front-end loading

3. In Class Assessment

4. Self and Peer assessment

5. Group Assessment

6. Automated assessment

Each strategy is examined and examples are given of how these might be implemented. At several points case studies are presented from within the University to illustrate what is going on elsewhere. Whilst there is no panacea for the problems posed by over assessment it is hoped that staff will at least experiment with some of these techniques.

The paper concludes with a question for all of us:

The next time you sit down to mark 250 essays or lab. reports or examination scripts ask your self just one simple question. Can I do this differently in a way, which makes my assessment more efficient and more effective?

Keywords: assessment, learning, outcomes, grade point average

JEL Classification: A20, A22, A23, A29, I29

Suggested Citation

Hornby, Win, Case Studies on Streamlining Assessment (May 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=405760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.405760

Win Hornby (Contact Author)

Robert Gordon University - Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) ( email )

Schoolhill
Aberdeen, Scotland AB10 1F
United Kingdom
0044 1224 262000 (Phone)

Robert Gordon University - Aberdeen Business School ( email )

Garthdee Road
Aberdeen AB10 7QE
United Kingdom
0044 1224 262000 (Phone)

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