Approaches to assessment and feedback that foster independent learning.
This may include: integrating assessment strategies with the specific aims and objectives for student learning; providing timely, worthwhile feedback to students on their learning; using a variety of assessment and feedback strategies; implementing both formative and summative assessment; adapting assessment methods to different contexts and diverse student needs.
CONSTRUCTIVE ALIGNMENT argues that a learner will 'construct' their own understandings best when the aims, measures and activities of learning and assessment are aligned to Intended Learning Outcomes. This article, 'Aligning Teaching for Constructing Learning' by John Biggs sets out the key ideas clearly, and offers some good ways to engage with these in teaching practice. These ideas can be applied by subject coordinators or studio leaders designing curriculum, and also by tutors who will offer learning experiences that will support curriculum designed by others. Please refer to the Handbook and/or the Subject Outline for the Intended Learning Outcomes for a subject.
Formative + Summative Assessment (Including Crits)
Assessment is an integral part of education. The two main forms of assessment generally accepted are FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT and SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT. While both of these are important, it is helpful to be clear about these differences and to be clear about the assessment 'conversations' you are having with students, and at what time in the semester.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT can provide feedback on students' learning during learning activities for both staff and students. When considering student learning throughout the semester, mid-semester crits, short quizzes or draft essay feedback can fulfil this role.
Timely assessment and FEEDBACK allows students to refine their approach going forward. It is very helpful to clearly identify FEEDBACK when it is being delivered to students, as they may not recognise when they are receiving it if they perceive it as just 'part of a general conversation'. Be clear about your delivery, and how your student/s should apply it.
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT, while still making use of crit presentations, quizzes or exams, or essays occupies a different role. In this case, assessment is used to measure the attainment of a level or outcome of learning, to rank students, or to measure student work against accreditation or progression requirements. While both of these are important, it is helpful to be clear about these differences and to be clear about the assessment 'conversations' you are having with students at what time in the semester.
Crits are a key form of assessment in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. They can be a valuable tool to enhance student learning, and the development of design skills and practices. When they work well they can be a rich collaborative learning discussion, but they can also be a cause of frustration and tension. The following links outline some key issues to consider, calls for creative application of the format, and ways crits can offer valuable learning.
PEER ASSESSMENT can be a powerful meta-cognitive tool, allowing students to engage in the learning process as an evaluator of others. This unique perspective gives the students insight into the assessment process, but also allows them to provide rich feedback to their peers on their work.
This workshop is presented by Learning Environments to assist staff to understand and apply this approach to assessment.
Workshops offered by Learning Environments present key features to consider when designing a rubric for assessment and strategies for using assessment rubric tools within the LMS. Other sites and links offer thoughtful reviews of the use of rubrics in different disciplines, and useful examples of their application in a number of learning situations.
"A well designed RUBRIC will ensure that your students are clear on the expected aims of assessable learning tasks. For teaching staff, assessment rubrics assist in ensuring an accurate and fair grading process and a tool to quickly provide rich feedback. When designed well, they speed up marking."
Designing Interdisciplinary Assessment
It can be complicated to define 'good' when multiple disciplinary perspectives are involved!
"Multiple Measures is the outcome of a nationally-funded research project, investigating ASSESSMENT DESIGN FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING. The research team developed this online tool and website to inform the assessment design for your developing or delivered ID teaching. It includes a rich library of ID examples that can be searched using the filters that were developed in the project. The filters focus on the Student Cohort, Learning Outcomes, and Pedagogy. The tool will help you to find good comparators for benchmarking to inform your ID assessment design."
Providing Timely + Useful Feedback
"FEEDBACK AND ASSESSMENT are among the most critical aspects of effective design for learning in higher education. Students consistently rate their satisfaction with the feedback they receive as among the lowest of all the factors contributing to their experiences at university. Assessment tasks also tend to drive student learning behaviour more than any other part of the curriculum."
This workshop offered by Learning Environments offers both theory and practical applications for staff developing approaches to feedback.
After assessment submissions have been marked, it is usual for all marks to be subject to MODERATION by groups of tutors and/or senior tutor or subject coordinator before being finalised. This is an important process to ensure that all marks and feedback are clear and equitable across the whole cohort, and also an opportunity to raise any questions regarding marking or assessment.
Student issues and Assessment (incl Extensions)
According to University's Assessment and Results Policy, academic staff may grant extensions for submission of assessment of up to 10 working days, in certain eligible circumstances.
Please note that requests for extensions cannot be granted for the following ineligible circumstances:
- computer failure
- assessment tasks in other subjects due
- employment responsibilities and routine financial support needs
- stress or ‘normal’ anxiety, study difficulties
- difficulties adjusting to university life
- language difficulties
- minor inconvenience
- regular normal life events, such as:
- family life,
- sporting activities,
- social and other commitments,
- minor interruptions and disruption to routine that might result from minor illness, mishap or other minor adversity.
An overview of Assessment policies that may relate to Student Issues, such as Special Consideration, Student Complaints and Special Adjustments is available via the link provided.
"The University of Melbourne expects the highest ethical standards from its students and staff in all areas of their academic work and professional behaviour. The work of each individual reflects on the academic and professional standing of the University as an institution that upholds ethical practice in research, learning, and teaching. Academic work submitted for assessment or publication must be the original work of the author or authors. If the ideas or words of others have been drawn upon, this must be thoroughly and clearly acknowledged using agreed scholarly conventions."
- Professor Richard James, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Provost (Academic and Undergraduate)
This site provides a thorough overview of the issues and implications of ACADEMIC INTEGRITY for staff and students of the University. Both students and staff should be aware of the requirements of Academic Integrity, as well as the implications when these are breached, as they can be significant and are treated very seriously by the Faculty and University. If you have concerns about a students' submission, you should contact the subject coordinator or senior tutor before speaking with anyone else. They will follow up with the student if necessary. The Academic Support Office can also provide guidance in this or other forms of suspected ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT.
Suspected Plagiarism or Collusion
If you suspect a student of PLAGIARISM OR COLLUSION, you should report it to the senior tutor and/or subject coordinator. If the senior tutor/subject coordinator believes the plagiarism or collusion is deliberate and significant, they will contact the Student Support team in the ASO who will manage the process. NOTE: Under no circumstances are you allowed to accuse the student. Under no circumstances are you allowed to penalise the student.
The following link contains a step by step to assist academic staff members in determining the appropriate response so suspected academic misconduct.
For information about the types of academic misconduct detected in ABP and guidance about steps staff should take if they suspect academic misconduct, view our Academic Integrity Guidance page, found here:
A pre-emptive approach can clarify these issues for students at the beginning of semester, and can highlight the serious consequences that can arise. Referring to the ABP Research and Study Guide as part of the assessment information may also assist. This site, accessed via the link, provides detailed referencing / citation guidance for ABP.
Assessment and Results Policy
The objective of the ASSESSMENT AND RESULTS POLICY is to provide a framework for the design, delivery and implementation of assessment of students in award and non-award courses and subjects. Assessment is designed to contribute to high quality learning by students, and to allow for quality assurance and the maintenance of high academic standards.
"This studio used multiple research methods, the introduction was comprised on group research and site analysis and as the course progressed we formed our individual design response. After making contact with professionals we were able to continue developing our ideas with the Studio Leaders' input and constant brain storming with them. It is a thesis studio so we were mentored at every step of the way but our ideas were given a reverence that I've not experienced before. It felt like I was setting the tone for the studio, not a preconceived output. I have also never worked so hard in my life. It is no surprise that with their trust and dedication, their students were prepared to put the most amount of hours into this project."
"They are constantly providing feedback and also ensuring we can self evaluate as well, by filming presentations and taking notes on additional crits feedback"
"Our tutor used a rubric table and explained in detail how to get perfect marks, good marks, regular marks, bad marks. So you just have to follow the one you were interested in, making it way more clear how to do the assignments."
"The tutor is always available to give feedback which really helps you stay on track if you're confused. He provides useful and timely feedback throughout the whole semseter. One of the best tutors i've had."
"The assessments within (Subject) have really helped me to understand how to learn and teach myself. While lessons and guidance from (Subject Coordinator) are extensive, it is still a core part of the assignment to do individual research, trawling through lots of material data sheets, construction drawings etc."