Welcome to the January issue of Teaching Matters: Innovative assessment and feedback methods

Photo credit: unsplash, Dmitry Ratushny, CC0

Welcome to the January issue: Innovative assessment and feedback methods.

In this first issue of 2020, Teaching Matters will be showcasing examples of innovative assessment and feedback methods that are currently being implemented across the University. Assessment and feedback is a central theme in Teaching Matters, but this issue specifically focuses on innovative approaches to assessment and feedback. By this we mean ‘innovation’ with a small ‘i’; we are not looking for world-changing initiatives, but a move towards new ways of thinking about assessment and feedback that help our students learn to be more effective than some of the more ‘traditional’ methods, such as end of module exams, or 100% written coursework. That isn’t to say these methods are not valid options in the right context, but there are plenty of teaching practices across the University that may benefit from more fitting and authentic modes of assessment.

In fact, overall findings from the Leading Enhancement in Assessment and Feedback (LEAF) Project highlight a lack of ‘authentic assessment’ and an over-reliance on ‘traditional methods’ as important concerns across the University. Addressing this issue is complex: staff may not have the time to ‘innovate’; they may be unsure where to look for support and guidance; and current regulations and policies may provide actual or perceived barriers for staff to experiment with existing methods.

This month’s issue of Teaching Matters hopes to address the second obstacle, by providing a starting place for guidance to support the design and implementation of innovative assessment and feedback approaches, and to share current good practice. For example, in his post, Dr Marin Parker, from the Reid School of Music, will showcase a recent initiative using video feedback; Dr Ellie Devenish-Nelson, based in the Biomedical Teaching Organisation, describes how to use role-playing scenarios as an authentic assessment task; and Jared Taylor, Programme Director of Animation at Edinburgh College of Art, discusses students’ self-evaluation in animation.

Previous Teaching Matters posts have also highlighted the following innovative approaches to assessment and feedback:

As well as sharing good practice through Teaching Matters blog posts, further available resources are listed below:

Happy reading…!

Jenny Scoles

Dr Jenny Scoles is the editor of Teaching Matters. She is an Academic Developer (Learning and Teaching Enhancement) in the Institute for Academic Development, and provides pedagogical support for University course and programme design. Her interests include student engagement, professional learning and sociomaterial methodologies.

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