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:

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



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!)








Now what

Some suggested solutions to the reductions

     distractors & feedback



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 - 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.





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








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




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:

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.





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






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