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Target Audience: Staff
Theory, evidence, strategies: learning from TESTA data about programme-wide assessment and feedback. Dr Tansy Jessop (Winchester University)
This session explores evidence from 75 degree programmes at 14 UK universities about students' experience of assessment and feedback from a programme perspective. Large-scale assessment data was collected through the Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment "TESTA" project, originally funded by the UK's Higher Education Academy, and led by the University of Winchester. Distinctively, TESTA views assessment through the lens of the programme. This reflects students' experience of assessment and feedback over the whole programme, in contrast to a more modular perspective often taken by lecturers.
TESTA evidence demonstrates striking variations and clear patterns in assessment diets across programmes. Variations beg questions about the parity of the student learning experience; similarities enable us to draw a reasonably accurate picture of the student assessment experience. Secondly, TESTA shows that the student experience in a modular world is dominated by summative assessments, squeezing out time for students to engage in reading and learning beyond formally assessed work. A heavy summative assessment diet leaves little space for formative tasks which are known to encourage creativity and to help students fine-tune their understanding. Thirdly, many students describe their feedback as disconnected from the next assignment particularly in a subsequent unit of study, leading to problems with learning from feedback and closing the feedback loop.
The TESTA process highlights that programme assessment design is at the heart of ensuring the effectiveness of assessment and feedback.
Experience of using TESTA demonstrates the value of: Taking a whole programme view of assessment and feedback; Using an evidence-led approach with a strong element of student voice; Putting the evidence and principles into the hands of programme teams to decide on and implement changes; Adopting a systemic approach through quality assurance processes.
Dr Tansy Jessop is the Head of Learning and Teaching at the University of Winchester. She believes passionately in the capacity of assessment to transform the student learning experience. Through leading the "Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment" (TESTA) project, she has seen the benefits of taking a programme view of assessment. Tansy's interest in the student perspective is driven by democratic and participatory approaches to pedagogy. She began her career as a secondary school teacher in South Africa, completing a PhD on teacher development in rural KwaZulu-Natal. She has published on social justice in education, narrative inquiry, learning spaces and assessment and feedback.
Delivered By: Education Enhancement