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and this weeks finale – we launched our assessment and feedback toolkit at the ALDinHE conference 2019. Here is the link to the webpage and last years presentations Direct link to the Assessment and Feedback toolkit

Informed by the conclusion of Ball et al (2012 p8) that assessment practice in most universities has not kept pace with other far-reaching changes in HE and that “a radical rethink of assessment practices and regulations” and a “holistic and proactive approach” is required, the Centre for Excellence in Learning at BU (now FLIE) implemented an evidence-based vision involving radical change to institution-wide assessment policy. By using a collaborative and partnership approach the development of key resources in the form of an Assessment & Feedback Toolkit was made possible. The principles-based and evidence-based strategy focused on a rebalancing of summative and formative assessment tasks; a broader menu of assessment types; and the promotion of technology-enhanced learning strategies facilitated by a new VLE. The CEL team drew on leadership strategies set out in Quinney et al (2017) and invited large-scale engagement through Faculty Fiestas and external events (Quinney et al 2018) to critically inform the process.

Building on the success of the TEL Toolkit (Biggins et al 2017) an online Assessment & Feedback Toolkit was developed to support the changes. We will share critical reflections on our approach to enable others to undertake a similar institution-wide approach to bring about clear benefits for staff and students. The Toolkit includes resources for formative assessment activities; assessment literacy strategies and has help, guidance and suggestions for planning assessments.

The development team:
Professor Debbie Holley, (former head of CEL) Anne Quinney (assessment and Feedback Theme leader (pictured); Learning Technologist Vince Clark, sincere thanks to BU Visiting Professor Dai Hounsell for his advice and guidance.


Informed by the conclusion of Ball et al (2012 p8) that assessment practice in most universities has not kept pace with other far-reaching changes in HE and that “a radical rethink of assessment practices and regulations” and a “holistic and proactive approach” is required, the Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) at Bournemouth University bravely took up this large-scale challenge. Presenting at the Southampton Solent Community Teaching Conference last year, we thank the participants in our workshop for their insights.

Implementing this vision involved addressing both global and local dimensions of assessment in higher education (Hounsell & Zou 2017). The approach combined radical change to institution-wide assessment policy based on assessment for learning principles (Sambell 2011), and emphased partnership and collaboration in the developing the Toolkit as an Open Educational Resource. The principles-based and evidence-based strategy focused on rebalancing summative and formative assessment tasks; a broader menu of assessment types; and promoting technology-enhanced learning strategies facilitated by a new VLE.  The team drew on tested leadership strategies  (Quinney et al 2017) and invited large-scale engagement through internal and external events to critically inform the process, supported by the expertise of Dai Hounsell, Visiting Professor.   We shared critical reflections on our approach and discuss considerations for toolkit design and construction.

l-r Dr Curie Scott, Prof Dai Hounsell, Anne Quinney, Prof Debbie Holley

Ball et al 2012. A marked improvement: transforming assessment in higher education. York: HEA

Hounsell D and Zou T. 2017. Surfacing and sharing advances in assessment: a communities of practice approach. In: Carless C, Bridges SM, Chan CKY and Glofcheski R (eds) Scaling up assessment for learning in higher education. Singapore: Springer . pp33-48

Quinney A, Lamont C, Biggins D and Holley D. 2017. Optimising disruptive approaches: extending academic roles and identities in higher education. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education Issue 10

Sambell K. 2011.Rethinking feedback in higher education: an assessment for learning perspective. Escalate. University of Bristol.

Above: The BU team at Solent: Dr Curie Scott,Prof Dai Hounsell, Anne Quinney and Professor Debbie Holley


thanks to Dr David Biggins, former TEL theme leader for the original post

As part of internal peer review, Bournemouth University looked at assessment and feedback practices across the University. The work, presented at the ALDinHE conference, looked at the responses to the Iinnovate initiative to demonstrate how staff are innovating in assessment and feedback.  Extracting relevant data from the innovate programme, the presentation highlighted practical steps that staff can consider for adoption.

These are the key slides where online tools, group practices and understanding assessment are key to engaging students with the processes

https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/cel/ 8
Assessment
Impact Innovation
8 Work-based learning. “Making the assignment mor...
https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/cel/ 9
Feedback
Impact Innovation
8 Padlet. “This worked well in teamwork collaborati...


https://www.slideshare.net/DavidBiggins3/promoting-academic-staff-innovation-at-bournemouth-university

Moving exams online – some principles


part of the assessment and feedback series with Anne Quinney, theme leader for assessment and feedback, and thanks to our visiting Professor, Prof Dai Hounsell, FLIE, Bournemouth University

Transforming how university exams are designed, managed and completed is far from straightforward. Without careful preparation and piloting, there are challenges in relation to fairness (a reasonable test of what students are expected to have learnt), fitness-for-purpose (the task reflects the intended learning outcomes and enables learners to meet the appropriate academic standard), equity of treatment (to avoid some students being disadvantaged), and robustness (i.e. confidence that technologies will work reliably and that there are effective back-up procedures in case of problems).

It therefore makes good sense to ‘make haste slowly’, drawing a distinction between what is feasible in the short term – this spring and summer – and what may be possible in the longer term as part of a more thoroughgoing shift in exam practices.  As you plan for a short term response to traditional exams please be aware of the principles set out in the BU policy document Principles of Assessment Design (6c).

“BU promotes alternatives to traditional handwritten exams, by expecting a wider range of time-limited assessment tasks and retaining traditional hand-written exams only where there is a PSRB requirement or other context-driven requirement.” (para 4.5)

In this material we focus on short-term options — what can be feasibly accomplished over the coming weeks and possibly months, when measures to combat the coronavirus have made some of our usual assessment practices impractical.

Creating different spaces

Some Guiding Principles

  1. Consider whether an exam is a requirement of the professional, statutory or regulatory body for your programme. Could you set another form of assessment?
  1. Wherever practicable, work with existing technology that is already familiar to staff and to students – for example those available in Brightspace or supported by the university. The Learning Technology team have produced guidance (see the Brightspace Staff Resources area ) and there are suggestions in the TEL Toolkit. https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/our-people/centre-fusion-learning-innovation-excellence/tel-toolkit
  1. Give careful thought to designing exam tasks that set a fair challenge to students, and couldn’t easily be sidestepped by simply looking up the answer on the internet, for example by including a requirement to comment on how this knowledge has been applied/can be applied by the learner to a real-life or hypothetical situation.
  1. Plan around a timetable that includes the following:
  • letting students know what form the exam will take, how they can prepare for it, when it will take place, and how they will submit their exam answer or response. A new Assignment Brief will need to be provided
  • wherever appropriate, posting up sample questions or practice materials, to prepare for the possible exam content and to check that students have access to suitable IT equipment off-campus
  • fixing a ‘release date and time’, when the exam question/problem/test materials are to be communicated to students
  • deciding on a submission date and time which is realistic and feasible (e.g. which gives students time to put together their considered response to the question set, and to submit it electronically in a secure way through the submission box set up in Brightspace
  • planning how to advise and support students with questions about any aspect of the exams (e.g. via FAQs or a Q&A discussion board)

As you plan alternatives to traditional on-campus exams in the current situation and begin to think ahead to the next academic year please be aware of the principles set out in the BU policy document Principles of Assessment Design (6c).The policy applies to Levels 4 and 7 currently and will also include Level 5 in the academic year 2020-21, and Level 6 in the academic year 2021-2.

“BU promotes alternatives to traditional handwritten exams, by expecting a wider range of time-limited assessment tasks and retaining traditional hand-written exams only where there is a PSRB requirement or other context-driven requirement.” (para 4.5)


Assessment & Feedback Toolkit: Promoting Assessment Literacy

Photograph shared by Anne Quinney

We have developed an online toolkit to support staff in updating their assessment and feedback practices with the support of Professor Dai Hounsell

This was part of a far-reaching response to the HEA publication by Ball et al (2012 p7) that

“assessment practices in most universities have not kept pace with the vast changes in the context, aims and structure of higher education. They can no longer do justice to the outcomes we expect from a university education in relation to wide-ranging knowledge, skills and employability ” and the HEA recommendation of “a radical rethink of assessment practices and regulations” with a “holistic and proactive approach” (Ball et al 2012 p8).

The material in the Toolkit is evidence-based, builds on best practice in the Higher Education sector, and forms part of a wide-reaching project to radically transform staff and student experiences of assessment. The Toolkit continues to grow as new resources are developed or identified, and FLIE Blog posts alert staff to new materials or key ideas to support the development of assignments for the next academic year.

Other dimensions of the project included the redesign of the university-wide Generic Assessment Criteria with feedback and feedforward statements for each grade-band and level from Level 3 (used in partner colleges), and Levels 4 to 7; a radical re-writing of formal assessment policies; a series of workshops and Masterclasses; a conference on assessment & feedback; individual, team and programme consultations; and input into the PGCert/PGDip/MA Academic Practice. In addition to the online materials, pocket guides for staff on assessment & feedback and on promoting  assessment literacy accompanied the Toolkit. In order to facilitate this complex, multi-layered and inevitably disruptive change we drew on the leadership strategies presented in our journal paper on extending academic roles and identities (Quinney et al 2017) and worked in close collaboration with a stakeholder group, in particular with the Students Union at BU.

We were fortunate to work closely with Visiting Professor Dai Hounsell, internationally known for his work on assessment and feedback in higher education. Dai has developed resources for the Toolkit, shared other resources he has developed (for example the Wise Assessment series of ‘Briefings’ in conjunction with the University of Hong Kong which you can find in the Toolkit) and is able to alert us to projects and publications on assessment and feedback as a result of his global networks.

The team shared aspects of the ongoing work at the ALDinHE conferences in 2018 and 2019

in the form of interactive workshops and would welcome any comments, feedback and additional open access resources to continue to build this valuable resource.

The external  link to the toolkit can be found here https://www.cemp.ac.uk/projects/AFT/index.php

If you would like to learn more about the other dimensions of the work on transforming assessment and feedback at BU please contact Anne Quinney.

If you would like to subscribe to the FLIE blog please follow this link https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/flie/

References

Quinney A, Thompson S, Luce A and Holley D. (2018)  Assessment and Feedback Fiesta: ALDinHE Conference, Leicester University

Quinney A, Lamont C, Biggins D and Holley D. 2017. Optimising disruptive approaches: extending academic roles and identities in higher education. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education Issue 10

Quinney A,  Thompson S, Luce A and Holley D. 2019. From assessment of learning to assessment for learning; Leading assessment policy change supported by an Assessment & Feedback Toolkit. ALDinHE Conference, Exeter University.

Anne Quinney, Principal Lecturer and University Lead for Assessment & Feedback, FLIE

aquinney@bournemouth.ac.uk

Debbie Holley, Professor of Learning Innovation and National Teaching Fellow

dholley@bournemouth.ac.uk