Last week saw a large audience of education professionals head to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow to attend an event on Assessment and Feedback jointly hosted by JISC CETIS and the Making Assessment Count project led by the University of Westminster. Over the course of a lively and fascinating day we saw a range of presentations on different issues around assessment and feedback, heard from a panel of wonderfully eloquent and enthusiastic students about their own experiences, and had the opportunity to discuss this vital area with a broad range of practitioners and experts.
The day opened with an introduction to some of the principals of effective assessment and feedback led by Mark Clements of the MAC project. Delegates were asked to consider their own priorities and opinions, which led to a very enjoyable discussion around the topic.
The first full session of the day looked at eFeedback, eMarking and automated feedback. Phil Denton of Liverpool John Moores University discussed Assignment Handler and Gradetime, a tool which allows automated but highly customisable feedback to be added to documents. In the second presentation of this session, John Kleeman of Questionmark discussed some of the outcomes of recent US research on assessment and feedback, which sparked a lively discussion with the audience.
Session 2 looked at alternative forms of feedback, with Peter Hartley of the University of Bradford discussing a range of approaches to providing feedback and rediscovering the ‘feedback loop’. I-Chant Chiang of Aberystwyth University then discussed audio feedback in greater detail, examining three projects that used various approaches around this method and her own experience of this in her teaching practice. Two of I-Chant’s students attended the event and were able to add their own, very positive, insights into this method.
Session 3 was something new for us, but a session that our attendees (and I) particularly enjoyed: a panel of students discussing their own experiences of and opinions on assessment and feedback. The students, Sophia Cullen, Koval Smith and Tom Edge from the University of Westminster, Saffron Passam and Melissa Croxon from Aberystwyth University and Graeme Allan from the University of Strathclyde and Vice-President for Education and Representation at the University of Strathclyde’s Student Association, spoke about a range of topics, reflecting on their experiences of traditional and more innovative assessment practices and their impact on their academic performance. They also took part in a very lively and stimulating question and answer session that really explored the issues raised.
The final session of the day looked at ways of effecting change in assessment and feedback. Sarah Davies of JISC had kindly agreed to join the event via Connect, but unfortunately technology (ironically) let us down; she did however make her slides available to the meeting. The meeting closed with Mark Kerrigan-Holt’s detailed look at the Making Assessment Count project and the e-Reflect tool it developed, again very usefully complemented with insights from Westminster students who have successfully used the system and found it highly beneficial.
Overall, it was a really interesting and enjoyable event, and I have to thank Mark Clements and the team at Westminster for all their work in making this such a great day. Presentations from the day, together with links to blog post mentions and tweets from the day are all available on our site.