Course 2, Week 1: Assessment as Learning

The second course focused on ‘Assessment as Learning’, or as I remember it from 11-19 teaching ‘Assessment for Learning’. These two weeks were again insightful, but posed a major barrier with application, as I am currently working in Professional service compared to Academic teaching. You will see my struggles and perhaps notice a reduction in my normal online discussion engagement in this and my next blog post, due to being unable to connect current practice to the online learning experience.

The main focus of week 1 was to introduce a course-based approach and navigating how this could be designed into our practice.

Introducing the course-based approach to assessment design

The course-based (also known as ‘programme-focused’) approach refers to a method used to tackle the modular breakdown of the British and European HE. What many find when attending university is that each module is standalone, therefore there is no clear follow-through between each module or term. In many cases this approach not only means disjointed understanding of content, but a disjointed approach to assessments, which can become repetitive and noninclusive. Furthermore, feedback given in modular teaching may not be as effective, with no clear advice on how to develop for a following module. The course-based approach is therefore used to create a journey through course assessments, as defined here:

In my originally took the above to meet end of year assessments, which as I learned through the module was not quite right. I hope to show this as I continue into the blog post.

The course-based approach is in fact brings together modules to create a more unified approach, using assessment to facilitate this. Coventry Universities has strongly supported this integrated approach creating a clearer student journey of learning and development, promoting use of formative feedback to improve attainment and assessment types that prepare students for employment.

Benefits of the course-based approach are supplied here: 

Coventry University have further developed their own  CU Group Assessment Strategy according to the 10 Principles of Assessment of the course-based approach.

It appears that this is having a positive impact, according to the feedback presented in the course from students. The greatest benefit to students was the importance of developing skills through workshops and formative assessments, which led to the end summative piece. In addition, staff supported the use of assessments which promoted employability. From my perceptive, workshop  preparation for assessments would be a great area for Personal Tutors to become involved. At Coventry University London, there is a dedicated team for Academic and Careers development, but there is still plenty of areas not covered which students need to manage their assignments, as well as navigating feedback. An approach that joins professional services to departments in this course-based approach would be extremely beneficial.

Course-based assessment design in practice

The first piece of advice when designing a course-based assessment approach was as expected, if following on from M01 – Constructive Alignment!

Of course, refering to constructive alignment alone is not sufficient planning for a course-based approach. It should be a collaborative work, including HoDs, CDs and MLs.

Unfortunately, with Personal Tutoring there aren’t any grand redesigns for the system, which would full under implementing a course-based approach, however I still thought about my own ideas for introducing students to a new course, mapping assessments to course progression:

My own proposal was not far off of the example given to prepare a course-based approached: to map course assessments over an entire course, including formative assessments. Maps created when designing this approach would also take into account how feedback can be used, as well as the use and frequency of high-stake assessments. The example provided through  on the course can be found here:  Course assessment map.

The course further provide 3 examples of intergating this approach into practice:

  1. Horizontal integrative assessment across one or more stages of the course: assessment of knowledge and learning from modules at a certain stage in a course (i.e. Level 4 or Level 5 or Level 6) , such as a Portfolio.

  2. Vertical integrative assessment across one or more stages of the course: assessment of knowledge and learning of modules at various course stages (i.e. Level 4 and Level 5), to bridge periods of study such as a development portfolio.

  3. Capstone assessment: ‘Holdsworth et al. (2009) summarise the key features of a capstone assessment to be:

    • Free-standing and authentic or ‘real-life’
    • Capturing learning in and out of class
    • Involving skills development that can enhance readiness for work or further graduate studies’


This week I have been much less involved in discussions, as I feel I have less to contribute. For A Level and GCSE teaching, there has to be an integrative assessment approach when summative assessments take place at the end of study. Formative feedback is key to development and progression, with plenty of opportunity to combine assessment types with skills developments.

This week I have learnt more of the Coventry University HE approach to assessment, but unfortunately have no opportunity to tie this back into my own practice. I think I’d appreciate this knowledge more when taking on a HE academic teaching role, compared to pastoral/study development role.

Leave a Reply