TESTA at Edinburgh Napier

Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) is an audit process that looks at the development of programme-level coherence through assessment and feedback, collecting data from staff and students and facilitating programme-level discussions on achieving coherent learning experiences. Used in numerous UK universities, it has been piloted in our School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care (SNMSC) and we will be running this process across the University over the next two years.

The conference provides a range of opportunities to engage with our experiences of TESTA, including three interactive sessions in the morning and a plenary session after lunch.

Interactive sessions (10:45am–12:30pm)
Three working groups were formed in SNMSC to address the key priorities identified in the pilot findings. The work of these groups is shared in the following sessions:

Plenary session (1:30–2pm)
TESTA: Lessons learned from the SNMSC pilot
Professor Brian Webster and Liz Adamson, SNMSC

Further details about the SNMSC pilot
Three undergraduate nursing and midwifery programmes were included in the SNMSC pilot. The TESTA methodology is based on three triangulated research methods including an audit of number, type, variety and timing of assessments. Quantity of feedback and proportion of exams is also calculated. The second method involves an Assessment Experience validated Questionnaire (AEQ) which uses a Likert scale and statements that relate to quality and distribution of effort, coverage of the syllabus, quality and quantity of feedback, use of feedback, appropriate of assessment, clear goals and standards, approach to assessment (deep and surface) and learning from exams, opportunities for assessment and feedback within clinical practice. 476 second and third year students participated. The third method used focus group interviews (n=7, sample = 36 students). A semi-structured interview guide with open-ended questions was used to allow for consistency of core questions (Jessop, El Hakim, and Gibbs, 2014).

Further resources
TESTA resources

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. Vol 12, No 4, pp.8-12.

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. Vol 12, No 4, pp.12-15.

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