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IBLC11-Abstract-Making Assessment Count (MAC) – Maximising the Benefits through a Consortium Approach

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Nannayi Dakat
16 May 2011

Author: Prof Gunter Saunders


The JISC-funded project, Making Assessment Count (MAC), has sought to address the different perceptions students and tutors have of feedback and support the effective use of feed-forward strategies. Students generally state that feedback is often insufficiently helpful, whilst teaching staff believe that students do not make effective use of the feedback they receive.

In the School of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster, a process (known as a MAC process) was developed to address these different perceptions. Initiated and owned by the student, the MAC process used a three-stage model of feedback: Subject specific, Operational and Strategic (the SOS model). The student uses the subject tutor’s feedback on an assignment to complete an online self-review questionnaire. Their answers are processed by a web application called e-Reflect to generate a further feedback report. The student then writes in their online learning journal which is shared with their personal tutor to support the personal tutorial process.  All first year students in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster (~350) and personal tutors (~35) took part in this initial MAC process.  Evaluation evidence suggests that the MAC process used and the SOS model can be an effective tool within an overall technology-enhanced assessment strategy, but there can be exceptions.

The original Westminster project team are now working with 5 other Universities (Bedfordshire, City, Greenwich, Reading and UWIC) to determine how best the MAC process can be developed and adapted to have wider applicability across institutions, subject areas and learning & teaching activities. This paper will outline the MAC process used in Life Sciences at Westminster and suggest a number of scenarios for utilisation of the process as a whole as well the key individual process components, the SOS model and e-Reflect.

Keywords: Assessment, feedback, tutorial, enhancement, technology

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