Assessment is a key part of the student experience, where students learn about their progress, interact with staff and peers, and gain feedback on their achievements.
Explicit opportunities should be created to gather student opinion about their assessment and feedback experience. This helps develop our shared understanding of effective assessment and feedback that supports learning. Listening to student feedback can help recognise differences in expectation and experience and identify any barriers which might be preventing effective assessment and feedback for all students, or particular groups of students.
Teaching staff and departments can use student voice to inform and improve students’ experience of assessment and feedback, including experiences of formative assessment. Student voice can also identify good practice in assessment and feedback which can be shared with others.
Engaging with students about assessment and feedback
How well are students supported and prepared for assessment in your subject? Are their views on assessment and feedback actively sought in a variety of ways during the course, not just through OUEs and NSS
Actively gathering student voice can support staff and students to work in partnership on assessment and feedback. Asking students to reflect on their assessment experience supports their ability to think critically and take responsibility for assessment and feedback.
There are many ways to gather student voice about assessment within scheduled teaching activities or in other forums, for example using academic reps; informal start, stop, continue activities; student focus groups; polls in Teams/Zoom chat; Microsoft Forms; ‘pulse point’ check in during assessment periods; Moodle discussion forums; talking with personal tutees or discussions in tutorial/seminar groups.
Discussion topics with students might cover:
- How does assessment help you learn?
- Is the assessment connected to the ILOs?
- Is the variety and distribution of assessment appropriate?
- Are assessment deadlines shared with you at the start of the unit?
- Does the timing of assessment work well?
- Is there a good balance of formative and summative tasks?
- Do you understand the assessment goals and standards?
- How well do assessment tasks connect across units?
- How do formative tasks help you learn?
- Did feedback help you understand how to improve?
- Are there opportunities to ask questions to check your understanding of assessment?
- Do you recognise good academic practice?
These discussions can also inform the review and enhancement of department assessment and feedback policies which should be shared with students.
It is important to close the feedback loop and make students aware of what happens with their feedback. Closing the loop will include explaining what changes have been made, or reasons why action cannot be taken.
More information on how staff and students can work together to develop feedback literacy and enhance feedback opportunities for learning.
University of Bath QA51 Annual Monitoring of Units and Programmes
QAA advice and guidance on assessment
Transforming The Experience of Students Through Assessment (TESTA), including guidance on running a student focus group to find out about the experience of assessment.
This paper charts the development of a conceptual model for student involvement in assessment practice: Bain, Jennifer. 2010. Integrating student voice: assessment for empowerment. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 4(1), pp. 14-29. ISSN 1755-1382