A view of the assessment and feedback landscape

The Assessment and Feedback programme has recently published a report which synthesises the baseline reviews of 8 institutional change projects. The purpose of the baseline process was to gain a picture of the current state-of-play of assessment and feedback processes and practices within these organisations and to provide a starting point against which to evaluate the effectiveness of technology interventions in bringing about change.

Collectively these reports paint a picture of a sector facing some significant issues, many of which will come as no surprise to many. For example:
• practice remains largely resistant to change despite pockets of excellence
• responsibility for assessment and feedback is highly devolved within institutions and there are considerable variations in practice
• formal documentation does not usually reflect the reality of assessment and feedback practices
• workload and time constraints mean that academic staff have little space to discover new approaches and innovate
• assessment approaches often do not reflect the reality of the work place and the way professionals undertake formative development during their careers;
• despite significant investment in the technical infrastructure to support assessment and feedback, resource efficiencies are not being delivered due to localised variations in underlying processes

These are just some of the findings of the report which goes into more detail around key themes such as: assessment and feedback strategy and policy; education principles as a framework for change; approaches to and types of assessment and feedback; employability; learner engagement; supporting processes (e.g. quality, submission and marking); staff development; and accessibility.
In terms of addressing these issues, “it is to be hoped that the assessment and feedback programme, by supporting some examples of large-scale change and by developing effective channels for sharing lessons learned will serve to build roads and bridges between these two provinces. There is a sense that the sector is approaching something of a tipping point where a combination of the various pressures for change and the growing body of evidence for the benefits of new approaches will deliver the momentum for a significant shift.”

Thanks to Dr Gill Ferrell for producing the synthesis report.

Tracks in the snow: finding and making sense of the evidence for institutional transformation

As we trudge into the New Year many projects are getting to grips with developing a baseline and deciding how they will measure the transformational impact of their work. It therefore seems seasonal to revisit a session at last year’s ALT-C conference where we explored these issues.

The ‘Tracks in the Snow’ post on the Curriculum Design and Delivery programme blog summarises some theoretical models that are of relevance and takes a look at how some large scale projects have approached measuring transformation. Hopefully it will provide some food for thought as you start out on this journey.

Finally, if you’re still in holiday mode, remember that Panto season isn’t over yet! You can still watch the video stream of JISC and the Beanstalk from UCISA CISG. The session covers the themes of Cloud Computing, SOA, Product Modularisation, Shared Services and EA. The second half of the session (from about 20 mins) looks at some of the experiences of process improvement from the JISC Flexible Service Delivery programme. You can also go direct to the Improving Organisational Efficiency suite of infoKits to find more tools, tips and case studies on process improvement.

Image from Flickr by Andrei!. Licensed under CC