Wednesday, 4 March 2009

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?


Alice said...

I was just doing some research for a bid that we are putting together here at Glamorgan and came across your project and then this blog. I just want to say that I think your project is great and I am so interested that I spent the last hour just reading though all the post on here!

I can see many similarities in your project to what the Change Academy project we are doing at the University of Glamorgan, Putting Assessment at the Heart of Learning. Our project initially focusing on two faculties is now coming to an end, and our top priority is to sustain the momentum we generated from these two faculties in terms of assessment and feedback and spread it across the University.

I will definitely follow the project at Hertfordshire closely and hope to get some helpful hints and tips that we can apply in Glamorgan!

MarkRussell said...

Hi Alice,

welcome and thanks for the positive comment.

hmm, it does indeed seem like we are working in the same area.

Would love to hook up to talk and share ideas / thoughts.

Is this possible?


Alice said...

We would love to. :-)

Our project manager (my boss, Prof. Norah Jones) and I are travelling to York on the 1st April to present at the Assessment and Feedback Workshop. Are you/any of your team going to be there by any chance?

If not, we are happy to arrange possible visits/chat over phone/web meetings! :-)

Alice Lau

MarkRussell said...

Hi Alice - great!

Eddie Gulc had asked us to talk at that event too - think we are now being wrapped up in one of the other sessions/ presentations - but at least we will both be there.

Look forward to catching up and hearing about your work.


Alice said...


That's brilliant news. We will see you there then! :-)