Wednesday, 28 October 2009

ESCAPE – surfacing and using existing technologies.

A few years back I developed a technology rich assessment programme. The approach to assessment uses technology to create, collect, mark and provide feedback on student-unique, Weekly Assessed Tutorial Sheets (WATS). The WATS approach to assessment was developed to support my own engineering undergraduates but has also been used and influenced practice elsewhere - both inside and outside the university.

The ESCAPE project provided another opportunity to showcase the WATS approach to assessment and debate how it might respond to the challenges of the ESCAPE partner schools.

Due to the ESCAPE project, the School of Life Sciences are now engaging with WATS. In addition to using the WATS approach to assessment in ways which we already know supports students‘ learning,, the School of Life Sciences have put a new twist on its use. The School of Life Sciences are using WATS to set tasks in IBMAP – a core module taken by many students. The students tackle weekly tasks and are presented with prompt and personalised feedback. Additionally, the students’ performance data is fed to the students’ personal tutors. Now the students study profiles, and performance form a useful part of the pastoral care conversations. Although not specifically developed to support pastoral care, the nature of the data that flows form the WATS approach to assessment suggests it can readily be used, not only to support learning and shape teaching, but provide early warning signs of struggling students.

I will keep you posted of how the WATS approach to assessment shapes up in the IBMAP.

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