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Re-engineering Assessment Project

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

These are my personal pages on the SHEFC funded, Strathclyde-led e-learning project Re-engineering Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education, to run April 2005 - July 2007. The project is led by David Nicol, and involves Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian, and University of Glasgow.

  • Rival sets of design principles for assessment

  • Official project website         Our new local project-related pages
  • Project page on JISC website     The 6 projects     The programme
  • New A&F strathclyde website
  • SHEFC web entry.
  • sfc     (shefc)

    Working on my part of the project are:
    The long and the short The fat and the sleepy
    Passport photo Passport photo Passport photo Passport photo
    Mel McKendrick Pippa Markham Steve Draper Chris Mitchell
    ext.2006 ext.2006 ext.4961 ext.2162

    The idea of the project is to achieve "transformation" in participating departments by using e-learning (i.e. computer related technologies) to deliver the assessment aspects of big courses either more cheaply or with better effect or both, and for the advantages to be such that the change is maintained without further special funding after the project ends.

    Notionally this project is about e-assessment. However pointers here will not be narrowly limited to a few new gadgets for marking tests:

    In my opinion, the strong points of this project are:

    Project summary

    The aim of this project is to transform thinking about, and practices of, assessment across the Scottish HE sector. Assessment is one of the most important drivers for transformational change; it determines both how and what students study. Yet, research shows that prevailing modes of assessment promote increases in teacher work rather than student learning. There is a need to rethink institutional assessment systems -- away from a model where teachers transmit marks, to one where students develop, over the course of a degree, their own ability to self-assess and self-correct.

    This project will involve curriculum re-engineering within three institutions and the dissemination of improved models of assessment practice supported by technology across the HE sector. Each partner will pilot a range of e-learning technologies and processes that support assessment. The initial focus will be on large enrolment first year classes, with more than 3000 students involved in the first implementation. The scope will be broad, going well beyond online tests and simulations to include classroom communication systems (a.k.a. EVS = Electronic Voting Systems), virtual learning environments, e-portfolios, management systems and online-offline models. The project will demonstrate how teacher workload can be reduced and learning quality enhanced. Models of departmental transformation, re-engineered assessment practices, planning tools, web-based resources and a programme of dissemination will ensure that the whole Scottish HE sector benefits. A cost-benefit analysis of changes in departmental workload and assessment processes will provide evidence of effectiveness. The impact of curriculum redesign, and the increased use of technology, on organisational structures and processes and on the roles and responsibilities of staff, will be evaluated.

    Tips: practical suggestions

  • Nicol's seven principles of good feedback practice
  • My current list of assessment related e-technologies web page   pdf


  • The grant application (0.6Mbytes; 56 pages; 22,500 words)
  • Short paper Transformation in e-learning
  • A talk by me "New working ideas in HE assessment and feedback"

    Carol Twigg and the Pew programme

  • Carol Twigg websites:
  • The cases of course redesign Examples of redesign in psychology: (search for subheading "Psychology")
  • Carol Twigg papers
  • Carol Twigg papers   one to start with
  • Virginia B. Smith & Joni E. Finney (2007): Increasing Learning, Lowering Costs: An Interview with Carol A. Twigg, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 39:3, 16-21
  • "Teaching & Learning in a Hybrid World. An Interview with Carol Twigg" Veronikas, Susan Walsh; Shaughnessy, Michael F. EDUCAUSE Review, v39 n4 p51-56, 58, 60, 62 Jul-Aug 2004

    Pointers elsewhere

  • UTS site on assessment
  • New QAA code on assessment
  • HE academy: assessment resources   again   student feedback
  • National student survey (NSS)     data       and TQI interface here     BBC item and league table
  • Nicol Risk tools, for organisational change
  • ETL project, with evaluation tools
  • QEE on assessment:

  • REAP briefing papers (2-4 pages each)   All in one PDF document (15 pages)
  • REAP online conference archive: many case studies of course/assessment designs: here or here or here.
  • Feedback in learning: an earlier web memo of mine
  • Interactivity an earlier web memo of mine.

  • SHEFC e-learning report July 2003
  • Peer assessment management software from Dundee
  • FAST project (on formative assessment in science)   papers   quaire tools
  • FAST project's questionnaire on effectiveness for students of assessment
  • Why dissemination is hard: Hopson on "We're Not Listening: An Open Letter to Academic Game Researchers"

    Open ended methods

    Here are some open-ended methods, beyond the usual ones of open questions in a questionnaire, focus groups, etc.
  • Pyramid evaluation link link
  • LEX (learner experiences of e-learning). Open-ended evaluation method.     short report     the method (big)     Big report (1Mbyte)
  • Drawings as OE data collection in education Chris McKillop (2006) "Drawing on assessment: using visual representations to understand students' experiences of assessment in art and design" in Art, Design and communication in higher education vol.5 no.2 pp.xx
  • A paper by me discussing methodology and the place of open-ended methods:


  • VLEs
  • Educational technology
  • Instructional technology

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