We now have a wealth of knowledge about more effective, engaging and fair assessment in higher education but much practice remains profoundly resistant to change. Despite significant national funding and local initiatives, the potential power of assessment to foster student learning, improve engagement and reduce non-completion rates is often wasted – and student satisfaction remains low.
Most change initiatives have been at the level of individual academics in specific modules rather than at the more sustainable and influential level of the programme, department or institution. This talk will consider a framework for assessment change which recognises that many assessment interventions raise problematic and complex ideas made more difficult by the large and loosely-coupled nature of many Universities. It will use the themes of institutional infrastructure, assessment strategy and approaches to the professional learning of those involved with teaching and assessment to posit a range of practical interventions which, I hope, will stimulate conversation and ideas throughout the rest of the conference and beyond.
Sue Bloxham is Emeritus Professor of Academic Practice at the University of Cumbria. She has published widely in the field including the best-selling Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education (Open University Press) with Pete Boyd and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2007. She has also researched and published on matters such as student skills development, group assessment, feedback, course design, marking, moderation and external examining. In recent years, her research has focused on communicating assessment expectations to students, the use of standards by academics and driving assessment change at the institutional level. She was principal investigator for the Higher Education Academy’s influential 2015 Review of External Examining Arrangements and is now playing a key role in the HEA’s Degree Standards Project developing external examiners and comparability of standards in higher education. Sue is regularly invited to speak on the topic of assessment at Universities and conferences in the UK and abroad.
Twitter handle @Sue_Bloxham