Keynote Address

Assessment and Feedback: Where are we now and where are we going?

Sue Bloxham, Emeritus Professor, University of Cumbria

[View Sue Bloxham’s Keynote Presentation]

How can we ensure that assessment is a positive experience for students whatever their background and previous experience? How can assessment contribute to tackling the challenges of retention and student engagement? In this keynote I will consider how to manage our higher education assessment so that it both maintains high standards of achievement but supports diverse students to succeed. My lecture will survey contemporary research and practice in assessment with a view to informing development of your assessment and feedback strategies. I will explore key themes such as the balance between the different purposes of assessment, designing assessment which supports learning, making feedback valuable and helping students understand the ‘rules of the game’. I will also briefly consider national policy developments around matters such as grade point average marking and developments in the UK Quality code in relation to assessment. The lecture will draw on practical examples from UK courses to illustrate effective assessment in practice. I hope to provide you with fresh perspectives on your practice and ideas for developing your assessment in the future. I also look forward to hearing about and discussing your assessment practice with you during the conference.



Sue Bloxham is Emeritus Professor of Academic Practice at the University of Cumbria and an educational consultant. She has taught in higher education for many years, developing a particular interest in assessment. Sue has published widely in the field including the best-selling Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education (Open University Press) with her Cumbria Colleague, Pete Boyd, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2007. Sue’s interest in assessment focuses particularly on how we manage our higher education assignments and examinations to support the achievement of students from under-represented groups. She has also researched and published on matters such as student skills development, group assessment, feedback, course design and marking. In recent years, her interest in what students need to do to succeed in university assessment has inspired research into how tutors recognise quality in their marking and the use of standards by academics. She has also contributed to the Higher Education Academy’s A Marked Improvement guide to transforming assessment in the University sector and is currently principal investigator on a HEFCE-funded review of external examining. She is regularly invited to speak on the topic of assessment at Universities and conferences in the UK and abroad.