Top Ten Take-Aways on Innovations in Assessment and Feedback from the SEDA Spring Conference

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Janet Horrocks (SET) and I attended Innovations in Assessment and Feedback Practice, a rich two day Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) conference in Edinburgh on May 12/13th 2016 that attracted over 140 delegates from the UK/Ireland, Hong Kong, Canada, Holland and the West Indies, a large number of educational developers, mainstream academics reporting on teaching and assessment innovations, consultants and colleagues from the Quality Assurance Agency and the Higher Education Academy and a Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning from the University of Windsor in Canada. The conference was structured around three keynotes and thirty-one workshops. The keynotes focussed on recent (and ongoing) national teacher fellowship scheme projects (NTFS) from Professor Ian Pirie at Edinburgh University (LEAF: Leading Enhancement in Assessment and Feedback), Professor Margaret Price at Oxford Brooke’s Business School (ASKe: Assessment Skills and Knowledge exchange) and Professor Tansy Jessop formerly at Winchester, now Southampton Solent University (TESTA: Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment).

Here are my top ten take-aways from the conference:


  1. Many practitioners from the rest of the United Kingdom (RUK) admire the Scottish enhancement-led approach to partnership, policy and practice.


  1. 20 minutes can be well spent face-to-face marking and providing live feedback, as an alternative to marking and commenting on piles of written scripts (Charlotte Chalmers, Biomedical Sciences, Edinburgh Napier)


  1. Exemplars support the development of student assessment literacy and learning (Kay Sambell, Northumbria and consultant Sally Brown (SFSEDA)


  1. Inclusive assessment design, driven by a research-led approach, can lead to institution-wide enhancement: 7 steps to Inclusive Assessment at the University of Plymouth (Pollyanna Magne and Jane Collings)


  1. Some students expect, and others welcome feedback on examinations (Louise Naylor, University of Kent)


  1. Blogging can work as a tool of formative assessment (Amy Barlow and Tansy Jessop, University of Winchester)


  1. “We expend too much time and effort on the wrong things”:  Disproportionate time and effort continue to be devoted to summative, rather than formative assessment, assessment of-, rather than for learning. (Professor Tansy Jessop, TESTA)


  1. TESTA (2009-2012) continues to have sector-wide impact across the world and in the UK (over 40 universities) bringing an evidence-based approach to the transformation of assessment and feedback.


  1. Lecturing in a Business School Professor Margaret Price has developed a national and international research profile as a researcher into assessment, teaching and learning.


  1. SEDA is a great forum to learn about-, and share knowledge of innovations and best practice in teaching, learning and assessment.


Martin Watson, Programme Leader Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Teaching, Learning Enhancement Lead.











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