Assessment in Higher Education Online 2014

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Topic 6: What can we learn from reflecting on assignments?


Question: What can we learn from reflecting on past assignments?

Was the assignment effective?

What do we mean by effective?

How would we measure effectiveness?

Do we want to make changes as a result of this reflection? If so, what? Who else needs to be involved? Would there be any implications for other aspects of the course?

Task: Think of an assignment you’ve recently completed yourself, or have recently been involved in marking. Evaluate the performance of the assignment task.

You might want to think about:

  • How well students have done
  • Whether the task discriminated performance sufficiently
  • How much work went into marking and feedback
  • How much you enjoyed seeing their work
  • How students think this assignment went
  • How students think this assignment fits into their course generally
  • How well you think the assignment contributed to an overall programme outcomes, such as enabling students to work in teams, or to evaluate sustainability

What other issues are important in the context of your programme? Whether particular students were able to perform as expected?


Reading and resources :

A series of recent national projects have developed toolkits for reviewing aspects of assessment practice:

TESTA takes a programme-level approach to reviewing assessment and has case studies and audit tools available:

The Bradford University PASS project also focused on the level of the programme, looking at ways to produce a more coherent and integrative approach to assessment:

Hertfordshire ESCAPE project: a toolkit for reviewing assessment practice:

QUB e-AFFECT project: systematic approach to reviewing assessment:

Organising assessment information more effectively: the Glamorgan Assessment Diaries project:



Various authors (2012). A Marked Improvement: Transforming assessment in higher education. York, Higher Education Academy.

Bloxham, S. and Boyd, P. (2007). Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide, OUP.

Boud, D. and Molloy, E., Eds. (2012). Feedback in Higher and Professional Education: Understanding it and doing it well, Routledge.

Brown, S. and Glasner, A., Eds. (1999). Assessment Matters in Higher Education: Choosing and Using Diverse Approaches. Buckingham, SRHE/OUP.

Rae, A. M. and Cochrane, D. K. (2008). “Listening to students: How to make written assessment feedback useful.” Active Learning in Higher Education 9(3): 217-230.

Taras, M. (2002). “Using Assessment for Learning and Learning from Assessment.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 27(6): 501 – 510.

Walker, M. (2009). “An investigation into written comments on assignments: do students find them usable?” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 34(1): 67-78.


1 Comment

  1. […] Topic 6: What can we learn from reflecting on past assignments? […]

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