Course 4, Week 1: Making Judgements and Ensuring Quality

Course 4, the last of the module! Following this course, I should be prepared to complete my assignment draft – how exciting!

I only wish we were able to access Course 4 earlier. The near-1 month break was very long between study and I would have much preferred the option to complete the final course earlier, to allow more time to focus on the final assignment. The gap between learning also makes it a little harder to get back into the study routine. I hope M09 breaks between each online course is reduced to 1 week!

Course 4 of M09 is titled ‘Making Judgements and Ensuring Quality’ and is of course focussed on our practice in ensuring quality within assessments and feedback. This course tackles subjectivities within assessing and providing feedback, providing methods to overcome these. 

Approaches to marking

Week 1 began with discussions surrounded judgement on assessments based on expereince. As in any position, the longer an individual works in a certain role, complacency towards procedures and processes begin (I vaguely remember from my Business GCSE a very long time ago that this is a reason why factory lines are not used). When applying this to HE assessment processes, we are presented with: 

On reflection of our own experience in UK HE, we were asked to take part in a poll – the results as on 21st January are as shown: 

One interesting comment, which I agree with states: 

Our approach to marking methods may be influenced by our perceptions, experience and out hopeful outcomes. Orrel (2008) is presented here with research in the area of how our judgments as educators can be affected when involved in assessing: 

Our judgement can then be categorized into two different approaches, which are referred to within assessment and feedback literature: Criterion-referenced and Norm-referenced (summary image below from FutureLearn).The approaches were of interest to me, as grade inflation in UK HE has been popular in the media – I began questioning whether a certain approach would be used as part of grade inflation. 

Criterion-referenced assessment is seen as the fairest of approaches throughout the comments, but there is some understanding for norm-referenced assessment. 

Support follows for the former as part of the M08 Future Learn Journey

Using marking criteria to make an informed judgement

Assessment criteria and rubrics are used through UK HEIs and we were able to gain and insight into how to develop each for our own taught subjects (here I applied to Sociology over the Personal Tutoring Service). 

The examples can be found here: 

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3: 

The students of M08 were asked consider how to deal with subjectivity within marking criteria. For me, the module so far had begun to tackle this through our own students developing assessment literacy. The answer was also eluded to in the materials provided, which can be accessed here: 

Finally, we were asked to work with our CLS to discuss five key elements we would consider if invited to act as a moderator of an assessment task. The task was discussed by email and as of 21st January 2019, the following was available on Padlet from the group (second bullet point submitted by myself):

Closing thoughts

Week 1 of Course 3 was interesting and I enjoyed getting involved in perspectives on subjectivity within our own judgement, which can impact assessing. I found the additional materials this week, such as the example assessment criteria’s extremely useful for understanding how to transfer my current practice and teaching experience to HE assessment. From my background in Sociology, the subjective-objective debate arises often, so it was great to apply similar thoughts to assessment. I look forward to Week 2. 

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