Effective assessment in a digital age
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Assessment lies at the heart of the learning experience: how learners are assessed shapes their understanding of the curriculum and determines their ability to progress. At the same time, assessment and feedback form a significant part of practitioners’ workloads and, with increased numbers, reduced budgets and higher learner expectations, continue to be a matter of concern for many institutions. What contribution can technology make to ensuring that assessment and feedback processes are agile, streamlined and capable of promoting high-quality learning?
Effective Assessment in a Digital Age draws on recent JISC reports and case studies depicting different contexts and modes of learning to explore the relationship between technologyenabled assessment and feedback practices and meaningful, well-supported learning experiences.
The Re-Engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) principles of good assessment and feedback, developed as a result of the REAP project funded by the Scottish Funding Council during 2005–2007, provide a framework for discussing how assessment and feedback can have a beneficial impact on learning. Accompanying this discussion is a sequence of case studies and practitioner voices which illustrate how technology can assist in the design of learning-focused assessment and feedback practices.
The scope of the publication is broad. It is proposed that technology, if used appropriately, can add value to any of the activities associated with assessment: from establishing a culture of good practice to the processes involved in submission, marking and return of assessed assignments; from the delivery of assessment to the generation of feedback by practitioners or peers. No separation is made between assessment for learning and assessment of learning, nor is the focus solely on computer-assisted assessment. Indeed, a wide range of technologies is evident in the sampled practice; the case studies and practitioner voices illustrate the potential to be found in generic, widely available technologies as well as in the use of more complex e-assessment tools and technologies.
Throughout the publication, you are encouraged to reflect on how technology-enabled practice, grounded in principles of good assessment and feedback, might enhance the quality of assessment and feedback in your own institution.
These resources are offered in different media to provide individual users with alternative ways of accessing up-to-date thinking about the role of technology in assessment and feedback. The resources may also be used in staff development or for wider distribution within the educational insitutions.
- Putting assessment at the heart of learning (PDF) University of Glamorgan
- Planning and delivering high-stakes computer-assisted assessment (PDF) University of Southampton
- Supporting the transition to degree-level study (PDF) Loughborough College
- Designing interactive assessments to support independent learning (PDF) The Open University
- Making the most of a computer-assisted assessment system (PDF) University of Manchester
- Enhancing the experience of feedback (PDF) University of Leicester
- Facilitating peer and self-assessment (PDF) University of Hull
- Reflecting on feedback (PDF) University of Westminster
- Assessing my own professional performance (PDF) St. George's, London University
- Assessment in an authentic learning context (PDF) University of Strathclyde and Northumbria University
Four institutional case studies which highlight the development and embedding of technology-enhanced assessment and feedback practices are available to view below.
Also available is a video of expert voices drawn from the JISC Assessment Symposium.
More detailed viewpoints from the JISC Assessment Symposium 2010 are available as audio files in MP3 format. These can be downloaded or played online.
These works have been issued under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 2.0 UK: England and Wales licence. They may be used within your institution for non-commercial educational purposes provided that the source is acknowledged and use does not infringe the rights of any third party. Copyright resides with HEFCE on behalf of JISC. If you have a copyright query, please contact email@example.com
Assessment and feedback planning tool
A freely adaptable downloadable planning tool is available for curricular teams implementing the use of technology in assessment and feedback.
Download the planning tool (Word)
Effective Assessment in a Digital Age is designed for those in further and higher education who provide assessment and feedback for learners in institutional, work-based or distance learning contexts.
The publication, which draws on work funded by JISC, JISC’s partners and national funding agencies, complements other publications in the same series, in particular the parallel guide, Effective Practice in a Digital Age (JISC, 2009a), and the closely related publications, Effective Practice with e-Portfolios (JISC, 2008) and Effective Practice with e-Assessment (JISC, 2007).
Effective Assessment in a Digital Age is available in different formats.