Making Assessment Meaningful

Hirst, Laura Lea (2006) Making Assessment Meaningful. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 4 (1). pp. 92-96. ISSN 1740-5106


Our investigation highlighted practical implications and barriers for implementing assessment for formative purpose. With larger student numbers it is becoming harder for academics to find the time to engage in formative assessment. It seems a shame that as class sizes grow it is at the cost of the learning experience in terms of formative feedback. So whilst our respondents showed a commitment to using assessment for formative purposes, practical reasons may prevent this from actually happening.

As an institution we also need to be looking at assessment timing. If assessment is to be formative, it needs to happen at a time when students can then act on feedback in a constructive way. We also need to be creating activities that allow students to engage with the feedback: simply handing students a page of written feedback will not encourage all students to act and learn. Creating discussion during teaching time, following assessment, for students to talk about the feedback will encourage them to read and reflect on any feedback.

It is clear that assessment for formative purpose is at the heart of most lecturers’ practice within London Metropolitan University, but now we need to place it firmly at the heart of the student experience, in a meaningful and real way.

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