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:
- Many practitioners from the rest of the United Kingdom (RUK) admire the Scottish enhancement-led approach to partnership, policy and practice.
- 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)
- Exemplars support the development of student assessment literacy and learning (Kay Sambell, Northumbria and consultant Sally Brown (SFSEDA)
- 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)
- Some students expect, and others welcome feedback on examinations (Louise Naylor, University of Kent)
- Blogging can work as a tool of formative assessment (Amy Barlow and Tansy Jessop, University of Winchester)
- “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)
- 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.
- Lecturing in a Business School Professor Margaret Price has developed a national and international research profile as a researcher into assessment, teaching and learning.
- 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.