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Be inspired by our CU Group assessment case studies

Assessment can be a real challenge – it’s fundamental to students’ learning journeys but is often the area of their university experience that they are least satisfied with (as reflected in the National Student Survey). Yet it is possible to create assessments which enable meaningful learning experiences, rather than simply measuring students’ levels of attainment.  

Within the CU Group, we have some excellent examples of innovative practice in assessment and feedback. The Academic Development website hosts a collection of case studies which offer practical insights into various aspects of the assessment journey, with robust links to the CU Assessment Strategy.  

How will reading case studies help me as a teacher? 

Reading case studies can help you to see how academic colleagues have enhanced their assessment and feedback processes, and gain inspiration for your own practice. The case studies are concisely written and practically focused so that you can quickly get a sense of what the lecturer wanted to change, how they achieved it, and the impact that it had on their students.  

Man working in library with stack of books

Resources such as assessment briefs, marking rubrics and assessment maps are included so that you can see exactly how the assignments have been designed. Case studies are sourced from various disciplines and levels, but you may well find ideas from completely different areas to your own which could be adapted to suit the needs of your students.  

Some highlights from our case study collection  

The suggestions below highlight some of the key strengths of our case studies, but they all demonstrate good practice on several different levels. For example, many are authentic and inclusive in their approach. Check out the original files for more detail.  

Authentic assessment design  

In a competitive jobs market, ensuring that assessments are authentic, i.e. have applications for “real world” working environments, is more important than ever. Authentic approaches may include assignments which: 

Reflect on professional placements- see the case studies by:  

Mirror the practices used in professional life- see the case studies by:  

Inclusive assessment design 

With such a diverse student body, what can we do to ensure that all students have the chance to perform to the best of their ability? Thinking creatively about the formats that assignments might take, and the support students have to prepare for them, can go a long way. Offering students some choice in these matters can increase engagement and ownership of the assessment.  

Alternatives to traditional written submissions– see the case studies by:   

Culturally inclusive assessment– see the case study by:   

Tackling plagiarism 

Two people preparing for a written assessment with books on table

Unfortunately, plagiarism and contract cheating is on the rise. In order to protect the value of academic degrees, we must do all we can to ensure that students’ work is really their own. The way that you design your assessment, and approach the topic of plagiarism with your students, can have a powerful influence on this.  

Reducing scope for plagiarism- see the case studies by: 

Effective feedback  

Do you spend a long time writing feedback comments? Do your students really read them? What could you do to help them act on the feedback in the future? The way that we approach feedback can make a huge difference to students’ attainment and development, but it’s not always easy to get it right. Some innovative approaches to feedback include:  

Using audio-visual resources to provide feedback- see the case studies by: 

Using automated feedback- see the case study by: 

Providing “feedforward” feedback to help students develop in future- see the case studies by: 

Building assessment literacy  

Two people having a discussion by a laptop

Students don’t always understand what they need to do in order to pass an assessment, or why they are being assessed in a certain way. Increasing assessment literacy can help to demystify these processes and in turn give students a better chance of success. There are various approaches to support this, including:  

Including opportunities for formative/peer feedback- see the case studies by: 

Providing exemplars- see the case studies by: 

Using video as a means of assessment guidance- see the case study by: 

Involving students in assessment and feedback processes- see the case studies by: 

Conclusion

For the full collection of case studies, as well as further insights into these aspects of assessment and feedback practice, check out the resources on the Academic Development website. The AcDev team also run frequent workshops on assessment and feedback, where you can discuss and develop your practice along with your colleagues. Please check the booking system for the latest opportunities.   

About the author(s)

  • Annie Bryan

    Annie is part of the Academic Development team, working to support academics from across the Coventry University Group to provide excellent teaching and learning. She has a particular interest in assessment and inclusive practice.

Updated on June 18, 2021

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