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 her post, Dr Emmanuelle Lacore-Martin, from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, discusses the impact of Google translate on students’ learning; Dr Ellie Devenish-Nelson, based in the Biomedical Teaching Organisation, describes how to use role-playing scenarios as an authentic assessment task; and Professor Richard Blythe shares his reasons for radically changing the way he assesses students.
Previous Teaching Matters posts have also highlighted the following innovative approaches to assessment and feedback:
- Dr Nina Morris explores how blogging can be used as an innovative form of assessment. Listen to a Teaching Matters podcast episode for a discussion with Nina and Dr Hazel Christie about the benefits, and challenges, of using blogging for assessment.
- Dr Rosie Stenhouse describes how she designed an assessment where students had to develop a creative asset – digital story, short film, poem or other creative writing – which enabled them to convey their argument around a mental health-related experience to an audience.
- Professor Simon Parsons discusses the use of online quizzes with detailed feedback as a method of formative assessment.
- Dr Lawrence Dritsas shares an innovative assessment based on students’ reflection on their tutorial preparation and engagement.
As well as sharing good practice through Teaching Matters blog posts, further available resources are listed below:
- Apply to take part in an Edinburgh Learning Design Roadmap (ELDeR) – a two-day, intensive, collaborative workshop focused on learning design, facilitated by IAD colleagues and the Learning, Teaching and Web Services team.
- Enrol on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP), which has a dedicated module on ‘Assessing students‘.
- Download a LEAF Guide to start your own curriculum mapping and assessment blueprinting using existing programme information.
- Join the ENGAGE network, to connect with other staff and students interested in co-creating the curriculum, including student involvement in designing assessment and feedback approaches.
- Read the Transforming Assessment toolkit.
- Browse articles in the journal Assessment and Feedback in Higher Education for inspiration.