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IBLC 10 - Session- Assessment-for-Learning: What is good practice and how can ICT help?

I'm running a session at the IBLC 10 - relating to assessment for learning and the use of...

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Mark Russell
20 May 2010

I'm running a session at the IBLC 10 - relating to assessment for learning and the use of ICT

Concerns about assessment and feedback in Higher Education remain. The UK National Student Survey, for instance, highlights assessment and feedback as the least favoured aspect of the student learning experience. This is particularly problematic since, from the student perspective, assessment defines the curriculum (Rowntree, 1977; Snyder, 1970), influences how they study (Biggs, 2003) and how they distribute their effort.

 A review of the relevant literature will show that various principles, conditions or suggestions of good practice in assessment and feedback exist, see for example (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004; National-Union-of-Students, 2008; Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006; Weston-Manor-Group, 2007). Our research has reviewed the relevant ‘sets’ and we now propose our so-called Six Themes for Good Practice in Assessment for Learning.  Underpinning the development was a need to support transformational change and provide guidance and resources to practitioners that might not be immersed in or engaged with the educational literature. We wanted to develop a manageable number of themes, other sets had 10 or more principles), use language that is accessible to the practitioner, identify themes that have face-validity and transcend disciplinary boundaries

 This work will introduce the Six Themes and in particular show how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be used to support the Six Themes. We will demonstrate an Assessment-for-Learning Toolkit. The Toolkit helps practitioners to make purposeful decisions on the use of ICT to respond to their own assessment and feedback challenges.

 This work is predicated on the notion that a good assessment and feedback experience should be the right of all of our students. Hence we believe that the Tenets and the Toolkit will provide useful resources for engaging staff in dialogue about their current assessment and feedback practice.


Anyone interested in this area?

What might your (assessment for learning)  themes be?



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Peter R Bullen
3:12pm 27 May 2010

Hi mark

I wondered how your 6 themes relate to David Nicol's REAP principles?

Marija Cubric
11:39am 31 May 2010

Hi Mark

what are the values underpinning the Assessment &Fbck principles? (I am thinking of 'principes' as bridges between 'values' and 'practices') 

Mark Russell
8:51am 1 June 2010 (Edited 2:22pm 16 June 2010)

Hi Peter,

Great question. we will explore this in the session, but in case readers don't get to the session ...

We did indeed look at David's work - and all the variations. Starting with the 7P's relating solely to feedback (published with Debra McFarlans-Dick). But we also looked at 'the conditions' of Gibbs and Simpson, the 'six tenets of the ASKe manifesto', the 'NUS principles' (speerately feedback and assessment) and the AfL CETL segments of the wheel etc...

Our themes, which are of course, up for discussion, try to ask ...

What are the above sets doing and saying and also package them in ways that might be more readily accessed by practioners and currculum designers.

Hence the language is important and so too are the number, Millers magic seven for instance.


Sarah Flynn
12:25pm 3 June 2010


Really interested to hear that the themes are constructed in  "language that is accessible to the practitioner" but wondered if / what work had been done to ascertain student understanding of the language we use in assessment?


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