Yesterday Mark and I ran a workshop on 'assessment and feedback' open to any member of staff at the university. We had 24 participants who contributed to some lively debate and discussion regarding the challenges of setting effective assignments and providing useful feedback. As you will be aware from previous blog entries, we are very keen at modelling behaviour, so we set the participants some pre-workshop activity, and then an activity within the session. We asked participants to bring along a case study of an assessment task that they felt needed improving. We discussed principles of good assessment and feedback practice, considered student and staff opinions regarding assessment and feedback and then asked the participants to consider where their assessment case study was currently located on the above grid of effectiveness vs efficiency. With support from colleagues, they then discussed how they could move their assessment up/along the grid to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the assessment. In some cases this meant improving marking turn around times to provide prompt feedback by considering for example, sharing out the marking, online submission and group work. Other cases considered improving the effectiveness of the assessment by considering activities such as peer and self assessment and involving students in a dialogue around assessment policy (i.e. enabling some choice within the assessment task, discussion of assessment criteria and the activities involved in the marking process ). For post workshop activity, we have asked the participants to identify changes that they will make as individuals to their assessments, changes that they will make within module teams, plus changes that they hope to influence at School level. We will follow up their activities and hopefully gain more examples and suggestions that will benefit the ESCAPE project. It was great to see staff engaged in this agenda and there were 24 enthusiastic people in the room. My hope is that these individuals plus the academic staff involved in ESCAPE will make small steps of change that will influence their colleagues and we will see an improvement in assessment and feedback practice across the whole institution - there's nothing wrong with being optimistic right?