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Assessment in Higher Education Linda Carey Centre for Educational Development Queen’s University Belfast.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment in Higher Education Linda Carey Centre for Educational Development Queen’s University Belfast."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessment in Higher Education Linda Carey Centre for Educational Development Queen’s University Belfast

2 “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)

3 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

4 “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

5 Modes of assessment Summative Formative Diagnostic How is assessment carried out? Tutor assessment Peer or self assessment On-line assessment (usually MCQs)

6 Summative assessment (educational) To pass or fail students To grade or rank students To select for future courses To predict success in future courses To motivate students

7 Summative assessment (employment) To license to proceed To license to practice To select for future employment To predict success in future employment

8 Formative assessment 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

9 Diagnostic assessment To look for predictable difficulties To diagnose strengths and weaknesses

10 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 Portfolio Presentation and/or poster Peer or self assessment

11 Task 1: Discuss in groups What assessment methods do you use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these methods?

12 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

13 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

14 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

15 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

16 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?

17 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?

18 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

19 Good Practice in Giving Feedback 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

20 Good Practice in Giving Feedback Does it include positive as well as negative comments? Feedback sandwich – positive-negative- positive Does it clearly prioritise areas for improvement? Does it focus on action points: what does the student needs to do to improve next time?

21 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?

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