As a course organiser it can sometimes be difficult to get a fast, simple overview of programme-wide assessment and feedback practices. The Leading Enhancement in Assessment and Feedback (LEAF) project, running at Edinburgh since 2013, uses TESTA (Transforming Experiences of Students Through Assessment) methodology to create maps of assessment and feedback to programme teams allowing them to easily identify excellent practice and areas for enhancement.
We’ve been working with Schools to gather research data from staff and students to develop support and guidance on enhancing assessment and feedback activities.
The process involves three distinct strands:
Strand 1 – mapping the programme: the research assistant analyses Virtual Learning Environments, samples of feedback, and interviews course organisers to understand the provision of assessment and feedback on the programme.
Strand 2 – mapping students’ experiences: we complete an ‘assessment experience survey’ along with one-two focus groups per programme, as well as using existing data gathered on students’ experiences of assessment and feedback (such as National Student Survey and the Edinburgh Student Experience Survey data) in order to understand students’ experiences of assessment and feedback on the programme.
Strand 3 – activity: once analysed, all data is pulled together into a report and discussed with the programmes team, giving the teams opportunity to reflect on the findings and plan future enhancements to assessment and feedback on the programme.
The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) is currently fully supporting around 10 programmes a year to be provided with assessment and feedback maps, and will be supporting further programmes to partake in a LEAF-lite approach which will see programme teams completing strand one for themselves and IAD support for strands two and three.
Currently we have worked with 24 programmes from across the three Colleges at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Although the findings of the project are confidential we are currently looking at ways to
- Strengthen students’ assessment literacy in the pre-assessment period through the use of formative assessment, formative feedback on plans or draft, and peer assessment of exemplar assignments to help students to really understand what is expected of them.
- Constructively align programmes’ intended learning outcomes, courses’ intended learning outcomes, and the assessment of these at a programme level to maximise the development of students’ skills and minimise programmes’ testing the same skills multiple times.
- Explore different methods of dialogic feedback, allowing students to take an active role in the feedback process and encouraging them to complete follow-up activities to improve on-going assessment practice.
If you think that the LEAF Project could be useful to you we are currently recruiting participants for the academic year 2016/2017. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Find out more about the LEAF project.
The Transforming Assessment toolkit contain questions and associated suggested responses that are intended as reflective prompts to help you focus and clarify your starting point for assessment practice development.
The IAD pages on assessment and feedback offer information and guidance to help academics consider and develop approaches to student assessment and feedback.