Category Archives: Project update

tools to support assessment careers

Today I attended the webinar hosted by the  JISC Assessment and feedback project at Glamorgan

I was particularly interested in their evaluation of the Grademark tool for feedback, which is part of Turnitin. There are some nice video of tutors using the tool and reflecting on how they found the experience at

I had come away from the 17/18  Oct JISC events in Birmingham feeling that our Assessment Careers project was part of a wider shift in emphasis in the sector towards longitudinal feedback. I speculate that 15 years ago there was a big drive for writing clear learning outcomes for programmes, for modularisation and breaking down programmes in order to increase transparency for students. Now these aims have largely been achieved, but it feels like there is some disquiet about what may have been lost, in terms of the holistic and developmental nature of programmes. So, maybe now the pendulum has swung back and many of us want to enable a developmental trajectory for students through their programme of study, rather than taking a smorgasbord of modules.

In Birmingham I found many JISC projects were also looking at how students can take feedback from one module forward into the next, to develop their ‘assessment careers’,  so this has given us a shopping list of tools to investigate:

1. The InterACT project at Dundee is doing exactly what we want to do; every piece of feedback students receive over a programme is in one place with prompts for reflection on it. They used Moodle wiki’s as blogs are not programme specific, but it works well so we thought this was really worth looking at.

2. Assessment Diaries includes an evaluation of Grademark as part of Turnitin (Glamorgan)

3. Open Coursework Management (Exeter)

4. Lightwork

5. Portfolio software like Mahara

Presentation of Pilot reports to Teaching Committee

I presented the pilot plans and the pilot methodology to the IOE Teaching Committee on May 23rd. The plans were very well received with words like ‘fantastic’ used and Mary commented that it was good to hear such enthusiasm. There was a question about whether the asssignment forms would apply to formative or summative assessment or both and Ian’s pilot as he pointed out has both with 2 slightly differnet forms.

David Nicol webinar ‘principles as discourse’

David gave a webinar on 20th March which was recorded and is well worth looking into at

He argues that projects need clear principles which are not just statements but have a compelling narrative and examples and evidence. It was the principles that transformed his institution in the REAP project.The success of the project will be if it enables the institution to acquire a new discourse based on the principles. This discourse wil take place throughout the institution not just between teaching staff but technical, admin and managers too.

We got a mention in the webinar and our principles relate to ‘Assessment Careers’, ipsative assessment or progress, feedforward on what the learner does next, students becoming more self reliant and there are more so please add any more.

I am thinking that an Assessment Careers framework is not the best terminology (this is the project plan and Baseline report etc.) as it sounds very rigid and a set of principles might be preferable. Any thoughts?

Programme evaluation workshop

A while back, I attended a programme-wide workshop on evaluation for the project, with Gwyneth – I meant to post about this at the time but I’ve been swamped, so wanted to make sure I posted something up about this before it slips my mind entirely.

This meeting provided a chance to think about the project’s evaluation in a little more detail. The slides from the event are available, as is a recording of the session. There was a helpful discussion of things like what measures we might have access to that could describe impact, and there was a lot of interest in the possibility of linking assessment practice to workload in some way – concerns about efficiency were widespread, as was the hope of raising quality whilst lowering costs. Our plans are to do this using the tools developed in the LDSE project, although we’ll have to see how well this works when we try it.