Case Studies on Streamlining Assessment
37 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2003
Date Written: May 2003
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: Suggested Citation