Assessment and feedback are a critical part of the student experience. Students are attentive to it – and therefore there are opportunities for learning that are interwoven within these moments.
The assessment and feedback processes also contribute to the progress and outcomes. However, this is an area that the academic sector continues to struggle with according to the National Student Survey (whatever our views of this data set), despite consistent and dedicated efforts.
At ARU we have been engaged in initiatives to transform assessment and feedback practices; most recently Making our Mark. Beginning in 2012, it brought colleagues from across the institution together with external experts to implement a variety of developments that positively affected change in the enhancement of assessment at the University. The learning from this work continues to be embedded in our strategic focus and practice through commitments enshrined in our Education Strategy, and operationalised through our Active Curriculum Framework.
The Framework is based on the premises that students learn most effectively:
- when they are actively involved in their learning, both individually and with others, within an inclusive supportive environment that empowers them to build knowledge and understanding of a subject for themselves
- when they are given frequent opportunities to check their progress (eg formative assessment), evidence their learning and demonstrate the broader set of employability skills employers expect all graduates to possess (eg summative assessment)
- when they are given a clear rationale for why, what, and how they are learning (eg good assessment description, marking criteria and schemes and feedback).
The Active Curriculum Framework is based on a Universal Design for Learning model to ensure that our teaching, learning and assessment processes maximise opportunity (and minimise obstacles) for all of our students. Course teams are being supported with the implementation of the Framework through a programme of Course Design Intensives (CDI).
The Framework emphasises active, diverse and inclusive assessment practice, supporting the development of assessment literacy, and engaging students in authentic and engaging assessment activities that support their academic growth and attainment of the Anglia Ruskin Graduate Capitals.
To help colleagues review and redesign assessment and feedback, both through the CDI process, and more generally, the Anglia Learning & Teaching Assessment and Feedback web pages have been updated, reflecting changes in how we use Questionmark OnDemand and new resources for systems such as Poll Everywhere. We have also introduced a new Assessment and Feedback Canvas site which builds on the Making our Mark work, bringing together evidenced based practice and tips from the sector, internal and external resources, university guidance and case studies from our own Good Teaching Exchange.
The Canvas site contains an assessment glossary and is organised into six areas:
- Assessment strategy
- Assessment literacy
- Inclusive assessment
- Assessment design
The Assessment and Feedback Canvas site will be updated frequently so be sure to visit it regularly.
Dr James Trueman
Academic Lead: Assessment at Anglia Learning & Teaching