Innovations in Assessment and Feedback Practice

12 May 2016 - 13 May 2016
Location: The Carlton Hotel, Edinburgh

SEDA Spring Teaching Learning and Assessment Conference 2016 The next few years are likely to see dramatic change across HE and FE given recent developments in the national context such as the announcements about a possible Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), removing the caps on student numbers, and increasing use and experimentation with new technologies. Are our assessment and feedback processes sufficiently fit for purpose in this changing context and what can we learn from recent innovation and initiatives in this area?This conference will explore these issues and be relevant and valuable to all academics, educational developers and learning technologists who have a role in improving assessment practice. There is strong evidence that we do need to pause and reflect on the processes and practices which underpin assessment – and feedback practices – in our institutions and across the wider HE sector. The evidence is troubling. Despite a growing theoretical base to guide practice O’Donovan, Rust and Price (2015) highlight there is a considerable body of research evidence that suggests this is the part of the assessment cycle that, as a sector, we generally appear to be worst at delivering, with little practical evidence of any impact on student learning.The apparent ongoing challenges that surround assessment and feedback are perhaps surprising given the range of projects and initiatives over the last decade. The institutional appetite to support educational change in this area is driven largely by the National Student Survey data which has, since its inception, consistently indicated that students are notably less positive about assessment and feedback on their assignments than about other aspects of their learning experience (Williams and Kane, 2008), an assertion which still stands.There have been a number of significant attempts to redress this situation. For example, the Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) project (2005-07) emphasised the importance of formative assessment and developing skills of self-regulation; the Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) and Programme-Assessment Strategies (PASS) projects provided evidence of the importance of a holistic approach to assessment and feedback design and shared models to support the application of this approach across institutions; while the JISC Assessment and Feedback programme (2010-14) funded the investigation of technology-focussed approaches with the goal of transforming both practice and the student experience. The HEA paper A Marked Improvement (2012) provided institutions with a ready-made assessment review tool, which explicitly promoted the principle of assessment for learning as well as the need for increased dialogue between staff and students around assessment, and even the QAA Quality code chapter B6 (2013), talked of students assessment literacy and the importance of dialogue with them about assessment. So it is both timely, and appropriate to ask how far these initiatives have influenced mainstream practice across the sector and what are the barriers to innovation.O’Donovan, Rust and Price (2015) suggested that our ongoing challenges and failings in the assessment and feedback space reflects the limited and fragmented impact of pedagogic research on practice. Is this indeed the case? What can we individually and collectively do to more effectively share and embed the evidence from this research and the lessons learned from the many valuable projects (past and present) undertaken?Themes

  • Assessment and quality assurance/enhancement processes
  • Institutional policies and assessment practice
  • Formative assessment strategies
  • Innovative assessment and/or feedback practices informed by scholarship
  • Evaluating the impact of changes in assessment practices
  • Masters-level assessment strategies
  • Programme-level assessment strategies
  • Students as co-producers of assessment and feedback
  • Strategies to encourage self-monitoring/regulation by students
  • Supporting colleagues to develop skills in effective assessment and feedback design
  • Supporting students to develop assessment literacy
  • Technology-enhanced approaches to assessment and feedback.

References and sources

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS CLOSEDSEDA is inviting proposals for posters, discussion papers and workshops which address the conference themes. The emphasis should be on reflection, exploration, scholarship and evaluation rather than merely a description of activities and technologies. SEDA conferences include sessions which involve delegates in active participation, discussion and development. This is a requirement of all discussion papers and workshop proposals. Activities should go beyond discussion of topics, and should involve critique, analysis, development and action planning by and with participants.Session formatsShort papers: (up to 15 minutes presentation with up to 10 minutes for questions and discussion) an opportunity to introduce and explain new approaches, methods and techniques which relate to the main themes and which are work in progress rather than established initiatives.Discussion papers: (up to 25 minutes presentation plus at least 20 minutes of questions and discussion / exploration), giving an account of research, evaluation, policy or practice, with the emphasis on drawing out lessons for and with others and involving participants in engaging with your findings. Sessions which integrate presentation and discussion, rather than presentation followed by Q&A, will generally be preferred.Workshops: (45 or 90 minutes) with the emphasis on a more detailed exploration of a research-informed issue or resource and including high levels of creativity, innovative thinking, critique, practical participation and action planning.Posters and demonstrations: the maximum size of a poster should be A1. Posters will be available for participants to view throughout the conference. Additionally, there will be a timetabled poster session when presenters should be available to discuss the content with conference participants.Criteria for acceptance of proposalsEach proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the conference against the following criteria:

  • Active and productive engagement of participants
  • Relevance to the conference title and themes
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title
  • Contribution to scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education, reflecting on and informing the future of educational development
  • Appropriateness of session structure and specified timings in relation to session type
  • Likely value of session aims and outcomes to the participants
  • Consistency with the SEDA Values

Ian Pirie, Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh Ian Pirie was appointed Assistant Principal for Learning and Development and Professor ofDesign at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. A full-time educator since 1980, his work in thefield has been in designing and leading the development of innovative programmes of studyin and across Art, Design, Architecture, Business, Computing and Engineering. He isinternationally known in his roles as an examiner, quality assurance reviewer and advisor,with work being undertaken over many years in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka, NewZealand and Australia in addition to his extensive work and involvement with numerous UKand European institutions.For a considerable period of time his research has explored the use of current and emergingdigital technologies in both design practice and in supporting specific pedagogicalapproaches in education. During the past decade and more he has led and worked onnumerous online developments in support of student learning and specifically in the areas of:assessment and feedback at the Robert Gordon University in eLearning; ‘Insight OutLearning’ for the teaching of entrepreneurship with Glasgow School of Art; chairing thedevelopment team of the national portal for the Crafts for the Scottish Arts Council; theinnovative developments in assessment and feedback at Edinburgh College of Art where hewas Assistant Principal for Learning and Teaching; and most recently the online suite of toolsto support personal tutoring, academic guidance and support at the University of Edinburgh.He recently pioneered and led the development of the ‘SLICCs’ (self-designed learningexperiences) that enable students at the University of Edinburgh to design and assessaspects of their own learning to achieve credit, and is currently assisting the RoyalConservatoire Scotland to explore and develop a new approach to assessment and feedbackin the Performing Arts.Ian is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK and Professor Emeritus of theUniversity of Edinburgh.

Margaret Price, Professor of Assessment and Learning, Oxford Brookes University 

Margaret Price is a Professor of Assessment and Learning and Director of ASKe Pedagogy Research Centre She is a researcher with strong roots in the practice of teaching and assessment and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in June 2002 in recognition of her excellence in teaching and contribution to the development of learning, teaching and assessment in Higher Education.

Margaret is involved in a wide range of research and development of practice projects at a local, national and international level.. She seeks to encourage innovation and foster evidence-based assessment practice within the HE sector.

Her most recent research has looked at the effectiveness of the external examiner system, student perspectives on good feedback and the development of students’ assessment literacy. She has published books on assessment literacy and transforming assessment feedback and also works with institutions to support their work in improving student satisfaction with assessment and feedback, developing student and staff assessment literacy

Tansy Jessop, Professor of Research Informed Teaching, Southampton Solent University @tansyjtweets

Tansy Jessop is Professor of Research Informed Teaching at Southampton Solent University. She leads the ‘Transforming Experience of Students through Assessment’ (TESTA) project, originally funded as an HEA National Teaching Fellowship Project (2009-12). From its small beginnings in four Cathedrals Group Universities, TESTA has extended its reach across more than 50 UK universities, and inspired universities in Canada, India, Australia and South Africa to rethink assessment and feedback principles. TESTA has been a catalyst for thinking about assessment and feedback from a programme perspective, and for teams to design more principled and connected assessment and feedback.

Tansy was the project manager of a JISC funded project in the Assessment and Feedback strand, called FASTECH (2011-14), which pioneered the concept of Student Fellows at Winchester to encourage the innovative use of technology on 15 degree programmes. She chairs the REACT Project Steering Group, a HEFCE funded project which built on Winchester’s Student Fellow Scheme, and seeks to widen the reach of Student Engagement beyond the ‘usual suspects’. Until recently she was Head of Learning and Teaching at the University of Winchester.

Tansy is excited about her move to Southampton Solent which will involve developing a strong culture of research informed teaching. Her research interests include student engagement, curriculum theory and research informed teaching. Publications include work on narrative research methods, social justice, learning spaces and assessment and feedback. Tansy began her career as a secondary school teacher in South Africa, completing a PhD on teacher development in rural KwaZulu-Natal.


Conference Package

Early bird price (prior to 5pm Thurs 14 April 16)

Standard price(after 5pm Thurs 14 April 16)

Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner)



Student Concessionary Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner) Available to Full Time Students Only £380 £440

Non-residential day delegate Thursday 12th May (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Thursday 12th May (includes lunch and refreshments) Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £170

Non-residential day delegate Friday 13th May (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Friday 13th May (includes lunch and refreshments)Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £170

Bed and breakfast accommodation for the night of Wednesday 11th May



Conference dinner Thursday 12th May



Day One09.15 – 09.45 Registration and tea & coffee – THE CARLTON SUITE09.45 – 10.00 Welcome and Introductions – THE HIGHLAND10.00 – 11.00 Opening Keynote Address – ‘Assessment and Feedback – why do we bother?’ – THE HIGHLANDProfessor Ian Pirie, Assistant Principal Learning and Development, The University of Edinburgh

11.00 – 11.30 Break – THE CARLTON SUITE

11.00 – 11.30 New to SEDA? Come and find out more Pam Parker and Yaz El Hakim (SEDA Co-Chairs) – BLACKFORD

11.30 – 12.15 Parallel Session 1

  1. But how do I know what you really want us to do?: using exemplars to develop assessment literacy and competence using readily-accessible exemplars Sally Brown, Kay Sambell – CRAIGLOCKHART
  2. Using the UK Quality Code as a stimulus for innovative approaches to Assessment and Feedback  Tim Burton, Natalja Sokorevica – ARTHUR’S SEAT
  3. SEDA PDF What, Why, How and Who?: Supporting CPD in HE and beyond  Jenny Eland AND Scottish Higher Educational Developers: Collaboration and Community  Fiona Smart – BLACKFORD
  4. Student participation in feedback planning: exploring a methodology to involve students in decision-making, drawing on emotional impacts of the feedback process  Juliet Eve, Fiona Handley – THE HIGHLAND
  5. “You made me fail my students!”: tensions in implementing new assessment procedures  Rachel Forsyth, Rod Cullen – CORSTOPHINE

12.20 – 13.05 Parallel Session 2

  1. Whatever happened to Programme-Focussed Assessment? Ruth WhitfieldPeter Hartley – CRAIGLOCKHART
  2. Students setting summative assessments: inspirational, feasible learning engagement or a terrifying step too far?  Deena Ingham – THE HIGHLAND
  3. A Marking App: from student enegagement to feedback and grading  Victoria Jack, Tom Smith – BLACKFORD
  4. Speaking the same langauage: creating a language – aware feedback culture Gillian Lazar, Agi Ryder – ARTHUR’S SEAT
  5. The ‘how to’ of the 7 principles of good feedback practice Kelly Mcateer, Ruth Bavin – CORSTOPHINE

13.10 – 14.10 Lunch – BRIDGE RESTAURANT14.10 – 15.40 Parallel Session 3

  1. Walkshop: creative thinking and peer perspectives on assessment and feedback practice  Fiona Campbell, Fiona Smart – CORSTOPHINE
  2. Inclusive Assessment: How a research project has supported the enhancement of assessment design across an institution  Pollyanna Magne, Jane Collings – CRAIGLOCKHART
  3. Linking skills, feedback and assessment to develop student agency and achievement  Laura Ritchie AND How does student attainment influence feedback?  Linda Robson – THE HIGHLAND

15.40 – 16.00 Break16.00 – 16.45 Parallel Session 4

  1. Making our Mark at Anglia Ruskin University: Evaluating the impact of an institutional initiative on transforming assessment  Erica Morris, Sharon Waller – CORSTOPHINE
  2. The Development of Assertion Reason Questions (ARQ) for the Assessment of Level 7 Graduate Entry Nurses  Devi Nannen, Mike Parker – BLACKFORD
  3. Examination Feedback: Assessing the Outcomes  Louise Naylor – ARTHUR’S SEAT
  4. Y1Feedback: Technology Enhanced Feedback Approaches for First Year  Lisa O’Regan, Morag Munro, Moira Maguire, Nuala Harding, Mark Brown, Geraldine McDermott, Gerry Gallagher, David Cranny, Conor McKevitt, Seamus Ryan  CRAIGLOCKHART
  5. Has the feedback sandwich gone stale? Optimising the quality of feedback through the feedback profiling tool  Monika Pazio, Alice Lau – THE HIGHLAND

17.00 – 17.45 Networking Getting Published with SEDA James Wisdom (Chair, SEDA Educational Developments Magazine Editorial Committee)  CRAIGLOCKHARTSEDA Fellowship Pam Parker and Yaz El Hakim (SEDA Co-Chairs) – ARTHUR’S SEAT18.00-18.45 SEDA AGM  CRAIGLOCKHART19.15 Drinks Reception – THE CARLTON SUITE20.00 Dinner  – THE HIGHLANDDay Two09.15 – 09.30 Welcome to day 2 – THE HIGHLAND09.30 – 10.25 Keynote Address – The feedback conundrum:finding the resource for effective engagement  – THE HIGHLANDProfessor Margaret Price, Director of ASKe Pedagogy Research Centre, Oxford Brookes University10.25 – 10.45 Break – THE CARLTON SUITE10.45 – 11.30 Parallel Session 5

  1. An evaluation of summative assessment feedback forms: students as co-creators of knowledge  Jane Rand – THE HIGHLAND
  2. Introducing the Digital Dissertation  Fiona Smart, Laurence Patterson – CRAIGLOCKHART
  3. Taking the SWIF approach:Using Student Written Instructor Facilitated Cases for Assessment and Authentic Learning  Dianne Thurab-Nkhosi  ARTHUR’S SEAT
  4. The Focus On: Assessment and Feedback Project – Supporting the Scottish HE sector to enhance partnership,policy and practice Ailsa Crum, Heather Gibson, Debra Macfarlane, Amanda Park  CORSTOPHINE

11.35 – 12.20 Parallel Session 6

  1. Enhancing assessment and feedback: Using TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Student through Assessment) as a catalyst for change  Elizabeth Adamson, Brian Webster-Henderson, Anna Bak-Klimek – THE HIGHLAND
  2. “You can’t write a load of rubbish”: Why blogging works as formative assessment  Amy Barlow, Tansy Jessop – CRAIGLOCKHART
  3. Joining The Dots: Making Sense of Assessment At Programme Level  Hardeep Kaur Basra – CORSTOPHINE
  4. Testing TESTA success at Dundee? Does TESTA Pass the TEST? One University’s Perspective T Lynn Boyle, Neil Taylor – ARTHUR’S SEAT

12.25 – 13.20 Lunch13.25 – 14.15 Parallel Session 7

  1. Marking time: Using rubrics for self-assessment and marking  Shona Robertson AND Self-assessment in Massive Open Online Courses  Ourania Ventista – CRAIGLOCKHART
  2. Engaging Students in Peer Assessment  Lindy-Ann Blaize Alfred, Hilaire Graham, Catherine Ogilvie AND Marking and providing feedback face to face: staff and student perspectives  Charlotte Chalmers – THE HIGHLAND
  3. Changing practice: Can quality assurance processes really drive quality enhancement?  Judy Cohen, Alison Dean AND EDPAL Project – Investigating Educational Developers’ Perceptions of Assessment Literacy  John Dermo – BLACKFORD
  4. Experiences of using a peer marking system for formative assignment grading  Sundari Joseph, Audrey Stephen AND Assessment and feedback for group and individual wikis developed by academic staff on a professional development course  Carol Newbold, Farzana Khandia – ARTHUR’S SEAT
  5. Working with students’ positive experiences of assessment and feedback to improve academic practice  Jacqueline Potter AND Updating a Taxonomy of Assessment Domains for staff and students: modernising it to enhance academic practice and student learning  Susan Smith – CORSTOPHINE

14.20 – 15.20 Closing Keynote – Changing the culture of assessment and feedback through TESTA – THE HIGHLANDProfessor Tansy Jessop, Professor of Research Informed Teaching, Southampton Solent University15.20 – 15.30 Summing up and close – THE HIGHLAND