Description of Good Assessment Practice

Title: Dr
Name: Helen Boulten
Academic Position: Reader (UK)
Name of Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Country: UK
Discipline: Education
Department/School: Education
Course title: Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education
Course code:
Class size: 21-40
Course Year: Postgraduate
Assessment Title: Peer Assessment of a Research Project
Assessment Type: Formative
Time allowed for assessment: Not time limited
Target: Peer- and self-assessment
Learning outcomes of the assessment practice: Learning Outcome 1: Critically evaluate contemporary thinking and issues about teaching and learning.

Learning Outcome 2: Critically evaluate the nature of aims, learning outcomes and the relationship of these to planning of assessment tasks

Learning Outcome 3: Critically review the research literature and other literature concerned with academic practice

Learning Outcome 4: Integrate scholarship, research and professional activity with teaching and supporting learning.
Key features and principles of the assessment practice: This assessment practice is focused on peer feedback as a process of peer formative feedback rather than summative feedback. The process was introduced because students were asking for time extensions for submission of their summative assessment, students were not engaging sufficiently with the literature, and marks for the summative assessment were low. By introducing this peer assessment activity which was structured to support early engagement with the summative assessment and reading has improved marks for the summative assessment substantially, reflects earlier engagement with a wider range of literature and reduced the number of extension requests.

The students are on a teacher training course for new academics working in higher education who, in the UK, are frequently employed from industry so have little, or no, experience of teaching.

The summative assessment is a reflective assignment based on their individual professional development within their subject discipline.

Students are expected to engage in a wide range of literature relating to their subject discipline, and learning and teaching pedagogy.

Students are introduced to the module assessment requirements in week 2 of the module, on a 15 week taught post-graduate module. In week 5 students are asked to give a verbal outline for their assignment, ie the main focus. This peer assessment activity which provides scaffolding to the final summative assessment for the module takes place in week 8.

Students are provided with a reading list and key reading identified in week 2 of the module.

The peer assessment activity takes around 2 hours to complete.

Students are asked to bring a 300 word proposal for their final assignment (the final assessment is 3000 words). The proposal needs to include:

(1) a plan of the structure of your assignment;
(2) a short description which:
• sets out your focus;
• indicates why you decided on this aspect of your professional practice;
• some indication of contextualisation of professional practice within pedagogy;
• indicates how you intend to investigate your focus;
• states how it will contribute to your professional role and how it links to your professional development plan. The bibliography should be included, presented using the Harvard system of referencing, to show you have started to research into possible sources of information for your assignment.

They then exchange their proposal with another member of their group which they then read and complete a pro-forma which provides feedback based on the learning outcomes for the assessment. Please see pro-forma.

Once each person has completed at least one peer review and feedback there is opportunity to discuss anything that arises.
What are the best things about this assessment method? This engages students at an early stage with the assessment and helps focus their thinking. Students engage much earlier with the literature and this activity provides a forum for them to share their literature. The tutor can respond to any questions during the session rather than with individual students thus making better use of tutor time. Students get to hear each other’s questions.

Marks have improved significantly since the introduction of this peer assessment activity.

There is high engagement by students with this peer assessment activity.
What are the challenges in implementing this assessment method? Initially the challenges were in developing the structure and pro-forma. The author investigated peer assessment and engaged with contemporary literature which informed the development of the pro-forma and how to use the activity to scaffold higher levels of achievement and deeper learning for the students.
What do your students think about this assessment method? (Any evaluation?) We have used this with four different cohorts of students, all of whom are post-graduate students. Feedback from students indicates this has been a successful development to our course. Students have feedback from at least one other student; frequently more than one and the activity is followed by an opportunity to discuss anything that comes out of the activity. Frequently questions arise around referencing, ie how to reference and how many references to include; we have found this discussion also provides an opportunity for students to share literature which they have found most useful.
Plans for changes/developments in future (if any): We have reviewed this activity with our student groups over 2 years and it has met with enthusiasm and support from the students with no suggestions on how we could improve or change it. The process of this activity always receives full engagement by students.
Attachment: PGCHE Peer Feedback Module 1 Assignment
Creation date: 2015-10-15 16:53:24