Course 1, Week 2: The Assessment Experience

Catching up with documenting my Week 2 experience of Course 1, but I am through Week 1 of Course 2 now so very nearly caught up. Looking at each course release date, it feels like time is going so quickly, we’ll soon need to hand-in submissions for the term!

Week 2 of The Assessment Experience course was titled ‘Becoming Assessment Literate’ and I feel at the end I did have a much greater understanding of promoting assessment literacy within a course.

This week opened with some comments I hear often from staff and I could easily imagine the perspective of the students. My response was (as always) with reference to my former life in FE…


The journey to assessment literacy

We began the journey with assessment literacy looking at the below image of stages and steps in designing assessment. At first, I became quite focused on the lack of formative feedback in the journey, but by taking a step back, looking at the key properly, I saw that there were plenty of formative assessment opportunities within each green stage. Formative feedback was commented as one of the most important stages documented and this was well-liked by the M08 group.

After considering the assessment journey, learners were introduced to Evans Assessment Toolkit (EAT), which can help educators review their own practice in developing students in 3 key assessment areas: literacy (AL), feedback (AF) and design (AD).  Of this, AL was extracted as an area for us to consider in relation to our own practice.


Now, moving along this path of assessment literacy, it is easy to relate all of this back regularly to written criteria and guidance related to the exam. It was nice to have a reminder from the LEAD Assessment session that we can promote assessment literacy in multiple ways. Suggestions from comments included: videoing the assessment guidance/criteria, audio podcasts, inviting past students in for f2f meetings with students undergoing the same/similar assignments. Personally, I would fully support these actions and if open access to materials were available, Personal Tutors could do more to breakdown information for feedback reflections in individual meetings.  Under the next heading, I will refer to a guidance and feedback activity I have led in FE, which I feel ties in well here for HE.

Growing on this, we are then asked to empathise with our students need to ‘Understand the task’ and ‘Understand the criteria’. It was recommended to use structured pre-assessment activities to help students with this process, deconstructing the assessment task and terminology, then introducing examples of previous assessments to rank.

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One method to fully involve students in assessments would be to allow them the ability to design the assessment criteria. The video presented on FutureLearn certainly supported this activity, however many concerns were raised by my peers studying M09 – one thread summarised the issues well led from this comment.

Your practice in supporting your students over the journey

Formative assessment is very important to preparing learners for their summative assessment, but this is only truly effective when feedback is present and/or readily available as part of a formative assessment. One method recommended on FutureLearn and used often in 11-19 teaching is peer assessment. Here I quickly attached a previous activity I led often (the activity referred to earlier in this blog post):

Moving into the importance of feedback, the need for feedforward and feedback oppurtunities are introduced ( I highlighted the impact of these last week in my previous blog post). To my delight, Personal Tutors were mentioned in the video presented, covering the use of such activities for skill development needed for summative assessments.



The course then led us into our own formative assessment and feedback opportunity – how fitting!


Final comments

This week,  I have enjoyed getting involved with discussion threads and combining experiences of assessment to move forwards with my own professional development.

The EAT was the most useful part of the week, as I feel this would improve our own methods of self-assessment (in essence self-assessing plans for assessment). I would like to see how I could use this more in the future as PT or academic.

The assessment was useful, however have strengthened my concerns about the final assignment piece, which is a reflection on an assessment. I will need to discuss this more in person at the next f2f session in Coventry.

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