TESTA Acting on the findings: clarifying goals and standards for students (Interactive Session)

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Connie McLuckie (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care)

The School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care (SNMSC) ran a pilot study using the TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) methodology to evaluate assessment and feedback practice within the undergraduate nursing programmes. In response to the findings, working groups were formed to address the key priorities identified. This session features the work of the group which focused on clarifying goals and standards. An interesting finding within the data was the clear relationship between clarity of goals and standards and student engagement with deep learning, student use of feedback and student satisfaction with their programme of study.

The primary aim of the group was to examine current practice within the School, to examine the literature and to make recommendations for LTA practice in terms of clarifying goals and standards for students.

We started with an exploration of ways that we currently communicate goals and expected standards of work to students. This included the use of assessment briefs, information communicated via the handbook and the VLE. We also looked at timing of information.

We found that assessment strategies and how they were communicated vary across modules and programmes. In recognition that interpretation is a key factor we invited students to discuss their understanding of the information they receive. There is widespread evidence of the value of involving students as co-producers of knowledge (Healy, Flint & Harrington, 2014; Jessop, El Hakim & Gibbs, 2014), regardless of whether that knowledge relates to processes or practices of learning. Provision of exemplars illustrating good practice was also debated.

The session will focus of the TESTA findings, current literature, what we have learned from the process so far and how best to ensure that goals and standards expected are clear for students. Delegates will be invited to respond to a number of key questions and compare and contrast their experience with that of the SNMSC.

Theoretical underpinning
Healy, M., Flint, A., Harrington, K., (2014) Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: Higher Education Authority.

Jessop, T., El Hakim, Y., Gibbs, G., (2014) The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: a large-scale study of students’ learning in response to different programme assessment patterns. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 39 (1) pp73-88.