UK Higher education is currently undergoing a period of significant challenge and transformation. It is likely that these challenges will, in a comparatively short period of time, lead to changes in the ways in which the student learning experience is accessed, mediated, and assessed. Assessment will undoubtedly have an important part to play in supporting such change and will itself need to reflect this shifting environment.
Thinking about assessment calls for thinking about what higher education is ‘for’. Assessment is a fundamental function of contemporary higher education. It is the means by which we assure and express academic standards and has a vital impact on student behaviour, staff time, university regulations, league tables, and, most of all, students’ future success. It is also complex and multi-faceted, influenced to a large extent by the context(s) in which it takes place.
Yet, whilst assessment increasingly occupies a status of importance in higher education, it remains the area perhaps least effectively engaged by efforts at change for institutions. Managing change of any kind in higher education is challenging, being difficult to model, initiate and sustain. Engaging in a process of transformation in assessment can have a positive impact upon student learning, as well as on student satisfaction. It can help ensure that staff and students have a greater understanding of and confidence in, academic standards, making it a necessary focus for any stakeholders concerned with furthering or ascertaining learning.
The HEA’s Transforming Assessment in Higher Education symposia series aims to bring together and learn from cutting edge examples of effective efforts at sustainable and manageable change at programme, school/faculty/college and/or institutional-level with regards to assessment and feedback. Specifically, the one-day symposia series aligns with and continue to build upon the themes emerging from the national HEA summit for Transforming Assessment in Higher Education (May, 2016): Assessment Literacy; Electronically Managed Assessment; Student Engagement through Assessment.
If you have an example of a recent innovation in sustainable and manageable change in assessment and feedback, why not showcase it as part of the HEA’s Transforming Assessment Symposia series?