• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Adrian 9 years, 3 months ago


Group 1 paper: Assessment.doc 





We need a research question:  I think the initial one was something like:


How can assessment be made more useful for students?


Just keep changing the question above until we get what we want.





“How can assessment be made more useful to students?”


Traditional summative assessment may benefit the institution more than the student.  If summative assessment contains formative information this is often goes unread by the student – frequently being left in boxes on administrators floorspace.


Summative assessment is:


“… often used by third parties to inform decisions about the learners abilities.”

(Fry et al, 2009)


Many authors suggest (Nicol; Fry et al, 2009; Yorke, 2003; Race, 2007) suggest that to improve summative assessment (grades, employability, destinations), more formative assessment should be done.



So what

While we do not suggest that teachers dispense with summative assessment entirely, we suggest that assessment can be made more useful to learners by incorporating a scaffolding approach to assessment. By scaffolding approach, we mean, a year-long programme of formative assessment and feedback that feeds forward into the summative assessment. Feeding forward can be “… used to help teachers and learners gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the learners performance while there is still time to take action for improvement …[with feedback] typically expressed in words rather than marks or grades …” (Fry et al, 2009:504). Indeed, the literature evidences a demand for formative assessment as a "process rather than a product" (OGG, 2009:1). This process should aim to helps learners "develop the capacity to monitor the quality of their own work during actual production" (Sadler, 1989 in Race, 2007:76) rather than at a final point of examination. Therefore, this paper discusses:  


In order for formative assessment to drive learning, what factors should be considered when giving feedback?


Yorke (2003) argues that formative assessment is not well understood across higher education. To further understanding of how formative assessment, including qualitative formative feedback can be used to help students, this paper proposes the following points.


Formative feedback:

  • ·         Is driven by a desire to improve student attainment (Hattie?)
  • ·         Is characterized by being given at frequent, regular and appropriate intervals consistent with the topics and learning outcomes.
  • ·         Could be written, spoken, ...
  • ·         Should encourage students to understand appreciate their strengths and build on them
  • ·         Encourages students to understand their weaknesses with an aim of overcoming them.
  • ·         Enables students to understand their role and responsibilities in the assessment process, and our expectations of them
  • ·         Is a vehicle for modeling appropriate behavior and attitudes conducive to academic success
  • ·         Provides qualitative suggestions for  improving performance (Fry et al, 2009)
  • ·         Is typically more immediate, frequent and numerous than summative feedback (ranging from a considered opinion, to an instinctive reaction like

               “Don’t put your hand in the fire”, and the continuum ranging between. (Yorke?)

  • ·         Should be welcomed by the student as an opportunity to learn (improve, develop) as it does not form part of the student’s academic record.
  • ·         Can be student driven, perhaps via peer assessors (Nicol)
  • ·         Encourages deep rather than surface learning (Race, 2007)



There is agreement in the literature that formative assessment with qualitative feedback ‘Feeds Forward’ to drive learning (Race, 2009).  Therefore, we suggest that course designers should aim to build formative assessments with regular opportunities for formative feedback into each unit of learning. 


Issues, concerns and limitations, also known as reductions (cite source!)


  • Cost
  • Assumptions regarding student use
  • Student motivation



  • Can be very expensive on the facilitator, i.e. time-consuming & tiring (Nicol, Yorke, Bruner)
  • Can be ignored by students like Robert (Sadler, in Race, 2007)
  • Can be misunderstood by the student (with negative consequences)
  • Students become dependent on teachers' help & comments
  • Peer feedback can cause tensions and clash with student expectations





Now what

Some suggested solutions to the reductions

  • Can be organized to be less expensive on the facilitator (exemplarts). E.g. Nicol's study on having students write the MCQ test including questions,

     distractors & feedback

  • Provide model answers to set questions / assessments and have students grade their own work, including formative feedback.
  • Can be written in a language students understand. Also, students can be socialised into the discourse of formative feedback.
  • Include peer observation, peer grading activities so feedback is not always produced by the teacher
  • Run mentoring schemes where more senior students or "study-buddies" facilitate learning for junior students.
  • "Celebrity endorsements" or "customer reviews" : Capture feedback from current students (on paper, audio or video) for future students' use.



Ripple on a pond model

We like this as a metaphor – the model reinforces the continual cycle of activity and feedback, and the need to constantly feed the ripple to keep the learning process alive. Formative assessment coupled with formative feedback keeps this ripple of learning going, "increases the intensity of the rippling and deepens learning" (Race, 2001:2)


How do we perpetuate the ripple?


Records, databases or catalogues: A tutor should keep a record of each student's formative feedback, to be able to refer back to it when producing the current feedback. This enables the tutor to make comments such as ' I was glad to see that this time, this paper addressed the issue of XYZ'





Reading List


Dochy, F., Segers, M. & Sluijsmans, D. (1999) 'The use of self-, peer and co-assessment in higher education: A review.' Studies in Higher Education. 24 (3) pp. 331-350.


Falchikov, N. & Goldfinch, J. (2000)  'Student Peer Assessment in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Peer and Teacher Marks.' Review of Educational Research. 70 (3) pp. 287-322.


Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. & Marshall, S. (2009) A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 3rd ed. Oxon: Routledge.


Hattie, J. A. (1987) Identifying the salient facets of a model of student learning: A synthesis of meta-analyses. International Journal of Educational Research, 11 (2) pp.187-212.


Higgins, R., Hartley, P. & Skelton, A. (2002) 'The Conscientious Consumer: reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning.' Studies in Higher Education. 27 (1) pp. 53-64.


MacLellan, E. (2001) 'Assessment for Learning: the differing perceptions of tutots and students.' Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 26 (4) pp. 307-318.


Nicol, D. (2007) ' Laying a foundation for lifelong learning: Case studies of e-assessment in large 1st-year classes.' British Journal of Educational Technology. 38 (4) pp. 668-678.


Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006) 'Formative assessment and self regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice.' Studies in Higher Education. 31 (2) pp. 199-218.


Race, P. (2001) Using feedback to help students to learn. York: The higher Education Academy.


Race, P. (2007) The Lecturer's Toolkit.A Practical Guide to Assessment, Learning and Teaching. 3rd ed. Oxon: Routledge.


Yorke, M. (2003) 'Formative assessment in higher education: Moves towards theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice.' Higher Education. 45 (4) pp. 477-501.







Black PJ and Wiliam D (1998b), Inside the Black Box (online version available at www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kbla9810.htm) - they are the "Key " authors in formative assessment, or "Assessment for Learning".  (Dawn Norse, 2010)






Some literature


(You will probably need to be on site to get access to these links.  I use the SRD system which gets around this.  IT are restricting this service. If you want it, get your line manager to request access from IT services).


The use of self-, peer and co-assessment in higher education: A review (1999)


Authors: Dochy, F.1; Segers, M.2; Sluijsmans, D.3

Source: Studies in Higher Education, Volume 24, Number 3, October 1999 , pp. 331-350(20)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group 

Abstract:  The growing demand for lifelong learners and reflective practitioners has stimulated a re-evaluation of the relationship between learning and its assessment, and has influenced to a large extent the development of new assessment forms such as self-, peer, and co-assessment. Three questions are discussed: (1) what are the main findings from research on new assessment forms such as self-, peer and co-assessment; (2) in what way can the results be brought together; and (3) what guidelines for educational practitioners can be derived from this body of knowledge? A review of literature, based on the analysis of 63 studies, suggests that the use of a combination of different new assessment forms encourages students to become more responsible and reflective. The article concludes with some guidelines for practitioners.


Link: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/cshe/1999/00000024/00000003/art00006



Student Peer Assessment in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Peer and Teacher Marks (2000)

Nancy Falchikov and Judy Goldfinch


Napier University


Forty-eight quantitative peer assessment studies comparing peer and teacher marks were subjected to meta-analysis. Peer assessments were found to resemble more closely teacher assessments when global judgements based on well understood criteria are used rather than when marking involves assessing several individual dimensions. Similarly, peer assessments better resemble faculty assessments when academic products and processes, rather than professional practice, are being rated. Studies with high design quality appear to be associated with more valid peer assessments than those which have poor experimental design. Hypotheses concerning the greater validity of peer assessments in advanced rather than beginner courses and in science and engineering rather than in other discipline areas were not supported. In addition, multiple ratings were not found to be better than ratings by singletons. The study pointed to differences between self and peer assessments, which are explored briefly. Results are discussed and fruitful areas for further research in peer assessment are suggested.


Review of Educational Research, Vol. 70, No. 3, 287-322 (2000)

DOI: 10.3102/00346543070003287


Link: http://rer.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/70/3/287






Formative assessment in higher education: Moves towards theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice (2003)



Higher Education
Publisher Springer Netherlands
ISSN 0018-1560 (Print) 1573-174X (Online)
Issue Volume 45, Number 4 / June, 2003
DOI 10.1023/A:1023967026413
Pages 477-501
Subject Collection Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
SpringerLink Date Tuesday, November 02, 2004



Mantz YorkeContact Information

(1)  Centre for Higher Education Development, Liverpool John Moores University, IM Marsh Campus, Barkhill Road, Liverpool, L17 6BD, England



Abstract  The importance of formative assessment instudent learning is generally acknowledged, butit is not well understood across higher education.The identification of some key features offormative assessment opens the way for adiscussion of theory. It is argued that thereis a need for further theoretical developmentin respect of formative assessment, which needsto take account of disciplinary epistemology,theories of intellectual and moral development,students' stages of intellectual development,and the psychology of giving and receivingfeedback. A sketch is offered of the directionthat this development might take. It is notedthat formative assessment may be eitherconstructive or inhibitory towards learning. Suggestions are made regarding research intoformative assessment, and how research mightcontribute to the development of pedagogicpractice.


assessment - enhancement - formative assessment - pedagogy - theory


 Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/n423r5p1011388j1/fulltext.pdf


Laying a foundation for lifelong learning: Case studies of e-assessment in large 1st-year classes (2007)

David Nicol

University of Strathclyde in Scotland

Correspondence to Dr David Nicol, Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement (CAPLE), University of Strathclyde, 50 George Street, Glasgow G11QE. Tel: 0141 548 4060; email: d.j.nicol@strath.ac.uk

AbstractConcerns about noncompletion and the quality of the 1st-year student experience have been linked to recent changes in higher education such as modularisation, increased class sizes, greater diversity in the student intake and reduced resources. Improving formative assessment and feedback processes is seen as one way of addressing academic failure, of enhancing the learning experience and students' chances of success in the early years of study. This paper argues that if this is to happen, a broader perspective on the purposes of formative assessment and feedback is required, one that links these processes to the development of learner self-regulation. It then shows, through two case studies drawn from the Re-engineering Assessment Practices project, how information and communication technology might support formative assessment processes and the development of self-regulation in large 1st-year classes. Finally, the paper presents a set of principles for the effective design and evaluation of formative assessment and feedback processes.


Link: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/117984189/PDFSTART



Re-engineering Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education (website)

Link: http://www.reap.ac.uk/resources.html





Here's a link to the original front page with useful links about how to use this wiki: Original front page 

Comments (6)

alison.devine@edgehill.ac.uk said

at 10:38 am on Feb 12, 2010

Dear All,

How about this as a research question?:

In order for formative assessment to drive learning, what factors should be considered when giving feedback?

I'm thinking that the points we all raised might be covered by this, e.g.:
specific, qualitative comments rather than box-ticking
timeliness (in order for students to incorporate comments)
authenticity of assessment task, etc.

Any changes & additions to the research question - including, of course, a completely new question?

Cheers, :)

mortonk@edgehill.ac.uk said

at 12:57 pm on Feb 12, 2010

Hi everyone

I like Alison's idea for the research question, what specific areas do you want me to research?


David Callaghan said

at 4:55 pm on Feb 12, 2010

I like Alison's idea too - and especially the bits implying Formative rather than Summative. I'm interested in encouraging formative assessment via shorter assessed pieces in a unit of study, akin to the “Patchwork text” methodology espoused by Winter (2003). The aim is to give a vehicle for formative feedback. I hear alarm bells ringing about workload, but am reminded on the work of Nichol (2007) (just put on the reference list above) who addresses these concerns (well he did at the conference in 2008 I went to, so it should be in that paper too).

References: http://dbcallaghan.blogspot.com/2010/02/current-reference-list.html

David Callaghan said

at 5:01 pm on Feb 12, 2010

More stuff from Nicol:

Re-engineering Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education: http://www.reap.ac.uk/resources.html

alison.devine@edgehill.ac.uk said

at 6:15 pm on Feb 12, 2010

Hi everyone,

Thanks, David for all the great articles. It certainly seems that Nicol (2007) finds formative (rather than summative) assessment drives learning. In the latest article you posted for us, David, Nicol writes of students 'playing the assessment game for good grades' when assessment is summative, but of 'achieving deep learning when assessment is formative. So I guess my point is, we can cite Nicol when claiming that formative assessment drives learning.

In order for formative assessment to drive learning (cf. Nicol, 2007), what factors should be considered when giving feedback?

Need to read more to actually have any new answers though! :)

alison.devine@edgehill.ac.uk said

at 10:10 am on Feb 17, 2010

Dear All,

You're very welcome to come to my office at 12:00pm so we can carry on with the work / prep. we did yesterday.

You can find me in the Main Bldg, Household Corridor, Rm M107B.

Come through the Terrca Cafe and out of it past the water coolers. Take the short flight of stairs up.

At the top of the stairs, come through the M101 double doors that are straight ahead of you. DON'T turn left down the M88 corridor.

My door is the only one on the right.

Looking forward to seeing whoever can make it :)



You don't have permission to comment on this page.