How can we improve the way students are assessed?
Effective assessment has greater bearing on successful learning than almost any other factor. Yet students express more dissatisfaction with assessment and feedback than with any other aspect of their learning experience, according to the National Student Survey (2011).
Increasing student numbers are adding to marking workloads for staff. Technology can enable different, new and more immediate methods of assessment, helping to reduce staff workloads whilst improving the quality of assessment and feedback for students.
We have a range of material to help you find out how technology can enhance and enrich assessment and how you might go about adopting technology-enhanced assessment at your organisation.
improved learner engagement, for example through interactive assessments with feedback
choice in the timing and location of assessments
efficient submission, marking, moderation and data storage
consistent, accurate results with opportunities to combine human and computer marking
- A number of case studies and video case studies illustrate different approaches to the use of technologies to improve assessment and feedback. These include aligning with an organisation-wide vision for teaching and learning, using technologies to ensure quality and consistency in assessment, and using technologies to enable students to reflect and interact with tutors over feedback. One institution, for example, developed peer assessment using blogs and wikis for student discussion. Another found that the ability to see quickly where students require extra support saved staff time in making appropriate interventions. Explore our workshop materials for further information.
Our radio show discusses how employers are driving change in assessment and feedback. Students are using a broad range of technologies to assess and improve transferable skills such as self-evaluation, critical thinking and the ability to work collaboratively.
- Our synthesis of baseline reviews (April 2012) revealed that many organisations take an inconsistent approach and are slow to share or implement new practices. There is also a failure to see assessment as a developmental process for as well as of learning.
What does the future hold?
Our new Assessment and Feedback programme
, which runs to August 2014, is focusing on large-scale changes in assessment practice supported by technology, with a view to delivering information on tangible benefits and transferable practice. Follow our progress by subscribing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Support from JISC Services
Since the late 1990s, JISC has recognised the importance of technology-enhanced assessment for the UK education and research community, starting with groundbreaking work on Managed Learning Environments and leading to 2010’s Effective Assessment in a Digital Age. Over the years, we have:
- Given practical assistance about technology-enhanced assessment to over 15,000 people through the Effective Practice with e-Assessment guide
- Influenced institutional practice on e-learning and e-assessment: in a survey of 438 e-learning practitioners in 2010, 62% believed JISC e-learning publications, including Effective Practice in e-Assessment, has had an impact on institutional practice (PDF)
- Produced an Assessment feedback and planning tool which has been downloaded over 160 times since September 2010
- Encouraged transformative changes to assessment practices in two academic schools at the University of Hertfordshire (PDF). The University is currently running a one year assessment project that is being influenced by the experiences gained from the JISC funding
- Through the JISC-managed REAP project (PDF), provided proof of concept that technology-based assessment can result in workload gains and more supportive learning. REAP is still a source of advice and guidance on best practice in e-assessment in the HE sector
- Embedded and promoted best practice in technology-assisted assessment to over 200 people through the Effective assessment in a digital age workshops held across the country in early 2011. 71% of surveyed delegates felt the workshop gave them adaptable and reusable materials to use in their future development
- Funded an award-winning open source online peer assessment tool (WebPA) that supports the marking of group work activities, allowing students engaging in group work to mark each others’ contribution. The tool has been adopted by over 20 institutions worldwide (PDF)