TESTA Acting on the findings: helping students see the value of assessment (Interactive Session)

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Liz Adamson, Fiona Carver, Jan Gill and Linda Hume (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care)

This session is one of three sessions designed to share experiences from the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care (SNMSC) 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 of the pilot, working groups were formed to address the key priorities identified. This session features the work of the group which focused on Perceived value: authenticity of assessment, assessment for learning and how to communicate value to students in terms of the assessment strategy identified. We also explored the challenge of selecting appropriate assessment for a programme focused approach.

The data gathered through the TESTA process (particularly the qualitative focus group data) demonstrated that students questioned the purpose and value of the assessments they were set

‘I don’t feel there’s anything personal that goes into an essay, it’s paraphrasing. That’s why I don’t like essays, because there’s nothing personal for me in there and the way I would act as a nurse is not in there’ Student.

The primary aim of the group was to map assessment type to the SNMSC graduate attributes, to provide an evidence base in terms of strengths and weakness of assessment type to function as an aid to assessment selection and to develop information for students that would communicate the rationale of assessment choice. The group set out to gather information about the range of assessments currently used within the SNMSC and to explore the literature for information, examples of use in practice and perceived strengths and weaknesses.
The session will focus on hearing and responding to the student voice, the challenges of selecting appropriate assessments that not only assess learning outcomes but enable the development of graduate attributes, and helping student to understand the rationale for a chosen assessment strategy. Delegates will be invited to participate in discussion around selecting appropriate assessment and feedback from students will be shared.

Theoretical underpinning
Ball, S., Bew, C., Bloxham, S., Brown, S., Kleiman, P., May, H., McDowell, L., Morris, E., Orr, S., Payne, E., Price. M., Rust, C., Smith, B. and Waterfield, J. (2012) A marked improvement: transforming assessment in higher education. York: The Higher Education Academy. Available at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/assessment/a-marked-improvement

Beaumont, C., O’Doherty, M. and Shannon, L. (2011)Reconceptualising assessment feedback: a key to improving student learning? Studies in Higher Education. 36 (6) pp671-687.

Gibbs, G., Dunbar-Goddet, H. ( 2009) Characterising programme-level assessment environments that support learning. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 34 (4) pp481-489.

Hartley, P. and Whitefield, R. (2011) The case for programme focused assessment. Educational Developments. 12 (4) pp8-12.

Jessop, T., El-Hakim, Y. and 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.

Jessop, T., El-Hakim, Y. and Gibbs, G. (2011) The TESTA project: research inspiring change. Educational Developments. 12 (4) pp12-15.

McDowell, L. (2012) Programme focused assessment: a short guide. Available at http://www.pass.brad.ac.uk/short-guide.pdf