These pages are a resource for you in designing, developing and reviewing your assessment and feedback approaches.
A good starting point, set out below, is to consider the question: Why do we assess students? It sets out some of the purposes, initial terminology and underlying principles of assessment and feedback.
Having considered ‘why do we assess students’, the following pages should help in the next steps of your assessment and feedback design. These pages are therefore divided into: How do I assess? (including, how to explore your students’ assessment journey; align your assessment; use diverse approaches; empower students in the assessment process; be careful not to overload students or yourself). Key Assessment Types (including, 16 key online and in-person assessment types used in UCD; explanation of different types; advantages/disadvantages, consideration for design (including online design); related resources). How do I grade students? (including grading matters; what approach should you use?; improve your grading; develop the assessment standards in your module). How do I give feedback to students? (including, what is meant by the term feedback?; UCD feedback strategies; How do you give feedback to students?; Ideas to support incremental development of feedback). How do I support my students’ academic integrity? (including, academic integrity; plagiarism; education, prevention and detection).
Assessment is key to the learning process in higher education, but what do we mean by the term 'assessment' and why do we assess students?
We assess students for many different and, sometimes, overlapping reasons. In addition, feedback can be used to achieve different purposes (see Figure 1)
Figure 1: Assessment & Feedback Purposes and Some Terminology (National Forum, 2017)
Some of the key reasons and related terminology that were developed by a national expert group are (National Forum, 2017):
For more on this see How do I assess?
Assessment also give staff some feedback on their teaching impact. For more on this see How do I give feedback to students
'to empower students to self-regulate their learning and critically evaluate their performance'
Students also need to engage with the feedback purposes, including engaging in activities that help them to judge and regulate their own work. This is also called: Formative Assessment, and by the different term Assessment AS Learning
For more on this see How do I give feedback to students?
Figure 1 also presents some examples for these approaches in practice and how assessment moves from high stakes to low stakes, where students have more responsibility and become more involved in their decision making (National Forum, 2017).
To help in the design of your assessments, you should consider the key principles that underpin assessment and examine which principles(s) is most important for your assessment. For example, do you want particular emphasis on the validity of the assessment?
The two most common assessment principles are validity and reliability, which are interrelated:
The following are three sets of principles that you should explore. You can see that there is some overlap in these principles:
In addition to being Valid and Reliable:
Assessment and feedback should be supported by enabling policies.
Assessment has most effect when: