A co-ordinated approach to planning a student’s assessment journey is a key consideration for Programme teams as it is strongly linked to successful student outcomes. Formative assessment opportunities, as well as summative assessment deadlines should also be taken into account.
The assessment journey should be planned out at design stage and at the start of a delivery period for each level to ensure students have a manageable workload spread across the duration of the period and to ensure assessment feedback from earlier assessments can inform the completion of later ones.
- Holistic - Assessment planning should be a team approach which considers assessment at each level and between each level.
- Student-Centred - The assessment plan should be considered from the perspective of the student and not that of individual Module Tutors.
- Cohesive - Programme teams should evaluate how assessments support or underpin other assessments.
- Consolidation - Assessment activities should be scheduled to consolidate student learning with feedback supporting future learning.
- Flexibility and choice - The assessment plan should allow where appropriate for flexibility of assessment type and choice of focus (providing this is within the parameters of module specification requirements).
Timing is key - Use a whole programme approach to ensure assessments are spread though-out the academic year.
"Recognise that assessment times are often the breaking point for both staff and students." Sally Brown, consultant.
At Programme Approval Stage (for new and revalidated programmes)
- Create an assessment journey map to demonstrate the timing, range, size and weightings of assessments across each academic level
- Ensure there are opportunities for students to learn from assessment feedback within a module
- Evaluate the relevance of assessments in terms of learning outcomes and authenticity (draw on employer feedback) – See Sub-section 2.2
- Consider the attractiveness (draw on student feedback) and flexibility of assessments
- Use early assessment to provide a skills and progress check
- Use group formative or summative assessment to provide opportunities for social learning
- Use strategies for reducing academic misconduct - See Sub-section 2.4
At Programme Delivery Stage (for programmes already approved)
- Plan the timetable of assessment in each academic year - Ensure there are opportunities for students to learn from feedback within a module.
- Within the parameters of the approved assessment on a Module Specification, develop professionally relevant assessment briefs (draw on employer feedback) – See Sub-section 2.2
- Consider the attractiveness and authenticity of assessments (draw on MEQ feedback)
- Use carefully planned formative assessments early and frequently to provide a skills and progress check prior to summative coursework submission.
- Use group formative assessment to provide opportunities for social learning Use strategies for reducing academic misconduct - See Sub-section 2.6
Office for Students (OfS): Considerations
When planning the student assessment journey, it is important to take the Office for Students (OfS) Conditions of Registration into account.
The OfS expects programmes to:
be up-to-date, provide educational challenge, be coherent, effectively delivered and allow the development of relevant skills Condition B1.3
be assessed effectively in a challenging and appropriately comprehensive way, by reference to the subject matter of the higher education course, and includes but is not limited to:
i. providing stretch and rigour consistent with the level of the course;
ii. testing relevant skills; and
iii. assessments being designed in a way that minimises the opportunities for academic misconduct and facilitates the detection of such misconduct where it does occur Condition B4.2
draw on valid assessment which takes place in a way that results in students demonstrating knowledge and skills in the way intended by design of the assessment Condition B4.2
Advance HE (2023). Assessment and Feedback in Higher Education [online]. Available from: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/teaching-and-learning/assessment-and-feedback-higher-education
Office for Students (2022). General Ongoing Conditions of Registration [online]. Available from https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/quality-and-standards/how-we-regulate-quality-and-standards/
Sambell, K and Brown, S. (2021). Kay Sambell and Sally Brown: Covid-19 Assessment Collection. [online]. Available from: https://sally-brown.net/kay-sambell-and-sally-brown-covid-19-assessment-collection/