Transforming your assessment and feedback practice with the help of technology is a major change initiative requiring strong leadership, project management skills and the ability to engage stakeholders and manage that change. We have a number of resources that can help you plan and implement this type of project.
- For FE and skills, our guide assessment for learning: a tool for benchmarking your practice in FE and skills is a hands-on tool to help colleges and providers self-assess their assessment practices.
- Our changing assessment and feedback practice guide gives a brief overview of the topic and links to many other resources
- Our guide on electronic management of assessment in higher education: processes and systems will help with process improvement and system change
- Our project management guide covers everything you need to know about taking a structured approach to planning and organising your project with a comprehensive set of project management templates for you to use
- Our change management guide takes you through finding the right approach to change for your own organisational culture. We put particular emphasis on stakeholder engagement and on techniques such as appreciative inquiry which prove to be effective in changing assessment and feedback practice
- Our guidance on developing a project baseline will help you evaluate the impact of EMA projects
Approaches to change
Different institutions have approached organisational change to make better use of EMA in different ways. Here are a few examples linked to our case studies:
Strong central steer
Manchester Metropolitan University decided a radical rethink offered greater benefit than incremental change. The university reviewed all its policies, procedures and practice relating to assessment and created institution-wide standards supported by new and improved information systems.
Focus on process improvement
The University of Huddersfield recognised the clear benefits of EMA and undertook business improvement underpinned by the philosophy "If you can get a machine to do it, get a machine to do it." They stopped short of imposing e-marking on academics but strongly encouraged the practice not least by lightening the administrative workload of those who adopted the practice.
Keele University identified three recommended assessment and feedback processes to help make best use of their available technologies whilst allowing some variation to meet individual preferences.
Specific pedagogic stance
The University of Hertfordshire has agreed a set of assessment for learning principles that underpin curriculum design institution wide and applied a range of tools and technologies to support the approach.
University College London Institute of Education wanted to improve learner longitudinal development. Deciding that engagement with feedback was central to meeting its goals they made policy and system changes in this area.
The University of Exeter developed a series of tools to ensure that its assessment practices help students develop employability skills.
Grass roots developments
Bath Spa and Winchester universities use a scheme where student fellows research ways of enhancing the student experience of assessment and feedback using technology. Working with staff they try out and evaluate new approaches and act as advocates for those that offer proven learning gains.
Queen's University Belfast uses an appreciative inquiry approach to help its academic schools identify what they do well in assessment and feedback and what needs to change. Central staff then provide support to implement the technology supported solutions that best meet their needs.
Not all of our users implement EMA organisation-wide. In this short podcast Bryony Olney from the University of Sheffield talks about how she organised an EMA pilot in her department. This case study is also available as a full text transcript.
Our EMA blog features a number of other case studies looking at various transformation aspects of the assessment and feedback lifecycle.
You can also read the following case studies which cover a range of areas around assessment:
- Embedding EMA - Queen's University Belfast
- Using technology to promote feedback dialogue - University of Dundee
- Viewpoints as a catalyst for change - Harper Adams and Cardiff Metropolitan universities.
Sheffield Hallam University is undertaking a university-wide change programme over three years to enhance the assessment experience for students, staff and the university as a whole. It has used the assessment and feedback lifecycle as part of an ‘Assessment Essentials’ resource to support staff through this process.