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The assessment of student learning is a fundamental part of higher education. It is the means by which we measure academic standards and has a vital impact on so much of what is at the heart of HE – student behaviour, staff time, university reputations, league tables and, most important of all, the future success of students. That in mind, it is also a complex and multi-faceted area.
The HEA’s Assessment Lab workshop aims to break down some of those complexities by introducing academic staff to the key principles behind developing effective assessment and feedback, the kind that is sustainable and also manageable. In short, it strives to encourage different ways of thinking about assessment design.
“Assessment Lab creates time and space to think differently about assessment design at the programme level,” says Dr Sam Elkington, the HEA’s Academic Lead for Assessment and Feedback. “It is a concerted focus on assessment. Normally you might get an hour or two once a year with your programme team to evaluate things that have happened. Something as important as assessment really needs a more structured, systematic approach. In effect this is a mapping exercise, visualising the assessment of your programme through a holistic perspective.”
Run over the course of one day, but divided into two separate sessions, the HEA’s Assessment Lab sees programme teams (a) given time and space to talk about assessment, maping out their current programmes, and (b) re-visualising their methodology having had time to reflect and build evidence. Subsequently, a plan of action (Programme Level Assessment Needs – PLAN) will emerge.
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The HEA’s Assessment Lab workshop is aimed at academic and support staff with an interest in and/or responsibility for designing assessment in higher education.
The workshop is led by Dr Sam Elkington, the HEA’s Academic Lead for Assessment and Feedback, along with sector experts who are also HEA consultants.