ocTEL Week 4 Activity 4.1: Reading and reflection

June 5, 2014 in Blog post, Reader

Read Effective Assessment in a Digital Age (JISC, 2010). Choose either one of the case studies listed on pages 26-29 or an example of assessment design from your own experience and –

  • consider how the case study or design relates to the teaching and learning perspectives on page 11,
  • examine how it reflects the REAP (Re-Engineering Assessment Practices) principles of effective formative and feedback on page 15,
  • propose an alternative form of online assessment which could achieve the same learning goals.

Well, this has been a fun read. Here are my take-aways from this report:

First up, this quote:

‘Nothing that we do to, or for, our students is more important than our assessment of their work and the feedback we give them on it. The results of our assessment influence our students for the rest of their lives and careers – fine if we get it right, but unthinkable if we get it wrong.’ Race, Brown and Smith (2005), 500 Tips on Assessment

Benefits and challenges of assessment and feedback in a technology-rich context

Effective assessment and feedback can be defined as practice that equips learners to study and perform to their best advantage in the complex disciplinary fields of their choice, and to progress with confidence and skill as lifelong learners, without adding to the assessment burden on academic staff.

What technology offers

Technology-enhanced assessment and feedback refers to practices that provide some or all, of the following benefits:

  • Greater variety and authenticity in assessment designs
  • Improved learner engagement, for example through interactive formative assessments with adaptive feedback
  • Choice in the timing and location of assessments
  • Capture of wider skills and attributes not easily assessed by other means, for example  through simulations, e-portfolios and interactive games
  • Efficient submission, marking, moderation and data storage processes
  • Consistent, accurate results with opportunities to combine human and computer marking
  • Immediate feedback
  • Increased opportunities for learners to act on feedback, for example by reflection in e-portfolios
  • Innovative approaches based around use of creative media and online peer and self-assessment
  • Accurate, timely and accessible evidence on the effectiveness of curriculum design and delivery

 Table 1: Perspectives on learning and approaches to assessment and feedback


The seven principles of good feedback:

 1. Clarify what good performance is

2. Facilitate reflection and self-assessment in learning

3. Deliver high-quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct

4. Encourage teacher–learner and peer dialogue

5. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem

6. Provide opportunities to act on feedback

7. Use feedback from learners to improve teaching

Designers of assessment have a key part to play in putting these principles into practice. To become effective in regulating their own learning, learners need to be engaged in and motivated by tasks. But it is also important that the design of tasks enables learners to take ownership of their learning. While engagement requires that learners understand the goals and criteria for the assessment, spend time on task and receive feedback from academic staff, empowerment requires that they have opportunities for self-assessment, peer dialogue and peer feedback, and that they use feedback to improve subsequent tasks. Balancing engagement and empowerment is a key design challenge.

The 12 REAP principles of formative assessment and feedback (As given in Nicol (2009), Transforming Assessment and Feedback: Enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year, p.5, Scottish Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education)

Good feedback

Another nice quote:

‘Don’t ask what the technology can do for you, rather what the pedagogy needs.’ Gilly Salmon, Professor of e-Learning and Learning Technologies, University of Leicester

To support and embed changes in practice, curriculum managers should:

  •  Raise awareness of the link between assessment and feedback practices and effective learning
  • Promote discussion of sustainable and transferable ideas – not all technology-supported practices place demands on resources[1]
  • Forge links between strategic drivers for change and grassroots innovations
  • Provide evidence of the benefits of technology-enabled practice
  • Make full use of data from computer-assisted assessment for quality assurance and curriculum review

[1] See Effecting Sustainable Change in Assessment Practice and Experience (ESCAPE)

Feeback and thechnology 1

Feeback and thechnology 2

Feeback and thechnology 3

Feeback and thechnology 4

Feeback and thechnology 5

Feeback and thechnology 6

I looked at case study number 6: Enhancing the experience of feedback, University of Leicester. )

In terms of the REAP principles, I think it addresses number 3 – deliver high-quality feedback information that helps learners to self-correct – 4 – provide opportunities to act on feedback – 6 – encourage interaction and dialogue around learning – 12 – provide information to teachers that can be used to help shape their teaching.

This activity, and the rest of this week’s material, has opened my eyes to just how little thought I actually give to evaluation and what a complex and important part of the teaching/learning process it is. It’s really quite worrying :-) It has also shown me that my knowledge of the possibilities for on-line assessment and feedback – beyond quizzes, MCQ etc. is really more than limited. I need to do a lot more work around this subject and take a really hard look at the kind of assessments I currently use and how these could be enhanced by technology.

One avenue I am definitely going to explore is PeerWise which looks as if it could offer some really interesting possibilities:

Well, the list of “things to do” is just getting longer and longer – good job the holidays will soon be here ;-)





1 response to The open course you cannot fail…

  1. Dear Maren

    “Lurkers” vs “Silent participants”?

    Here are a few other terms that could be used:

    vicarious learners?
    silent participants?
    Non-public user?
    legitimate peripheral participator?
    virtual participant?
    marginal participant?
    passive observer?
    cognitive apprentices?
    potential member?
    proximate member?
    tacit member?

    See Let’s get more positive about the term ‘lurker’

    Which term best reflects the degree/ style/ of learning? If you read a book, but never talk about it, have you learned any less?

    Best wishes


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