Developing effective assessment in higher education: a practical guide

Bloxham, Susan and Boyd, Pete ORCID logo ORCID: , eds. (2007) Developing effective assessment in higher education: a practical guide. Open University Press.

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Research and experience tell us very forcefully about the importance of assessment in higher education. It shapes the experience of students and influences their behaviour more than the teaching they receive. The influence of assessment means that ‘there is more leverage to improve teaching through changing assessment than there is in changing anything else’ (Gibbs and Simpson 2004–5: 22). Tutors implicitly know the importance of assessment. Anecdotal experience tells us that, to a large extent, assessment activity in higher education is the learning activity. Students may take notes in lectures, seminars or from their reading, they may have been through the prescribed activities in laboratories or on field trips, but it is only when faced with assessment tasks that the majority seriously engage with that material. Tutors despair of trying to persuade students to undertake study which does not contribute in some way to their grades. Sadly, though, university assessment practice lags well behind its equivalent in the school sector (Murphy 2006), relying largely on a limited range of tried (but not always tested) methods. It is dealt with in an ad hoc way (Swann and Ecclestone 1999a) and the situation is not mitigated by the ‘amateur’ status of many academics regarding assessment (Ramsden 2003: 177). We learn the craft of assessment informally through being assessed ourselves and through being part of a community of practice, but lack scholarship regarding assessment (Price 2005). Undoubtedly, most of us have survived this approach to professional learning reasonably unscathed but it is not a recipe for enhancement; it provides no reliable route for ensuring that research on assessment reaches those doing the assessing.

Item Type: Book
Publisher: Open University Press
ISBN: 9780335221073
Related URL(s):
Departments: Professional Services > Research Office & Graduate School (ROGS)
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2010 14:51
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 08:45


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