Courses are expected employ a variety of assessment types that:
The inclusion of a variety of assessment types within a course will require students to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways, employing different skills in communication, higher order thinking, and self-management.
It is expected that all courses will provide students with assessment components that involve students communicating using academic and non-academic writing, employing oral/visual communication, and working in groups. Assessments should be manageable and designed to use a range of assessment formats, enables student personalisation choice of assessment format where appropriate or relevant.
There are many potential assessment types, and the key is to deliberate the the suitability of the assessment type in relation to the subject content, measurement of progress in relation to the learning outcomes, and variety for inclusive and progressive assessment.
In designing time constrained assignments, the following should be considered:
An Example TCAOn a computing course a tutor required students to demonstrate their ability to complete an analytical process to a case study involving a sequence of steps. The tutor decided to set a time constrained assessment (TCA) at the end of the module in which students would be required to perform this process. The tutor shared with the students the TCA at the start of the modules' delivery within the module guide, and also provided a number of example case studies. Through the modules' delivery the tutor referred to the TCA and encouraged students to explore the provided case studies as examples within their independent learning. At the end of the module the students were encouraged to complete two further case studies which the tutor subsequently worked through with them. Through this, all students had ample opportunity to prepare for the TCA, and were fully informed on what they would be expected to do.
There are a variety of tools within Brightspace which can be used for assessment and for automating marking and feedback. [Link for UOS staff only]
In developing assessment frameworks for block pedagogies, the need for course teams to focus on what is being assessed and the best methods for assessing it must be brought together with consideration of the cumulative development of knowledge and confidence through the academic cycle, and even, potentially the competing demands on a student’s time. Innovative assessment can be compassionate assessment and speak to the agenda of reimagining delivery for more contextualised learning which acknowledges diverse needs and spans disciplines.
There may be challenges providing timely feedback in block or for student to process learning and complete assignments (Walsh et al, 2019), however, careful consideration of assessment type, can help overcome some of these challenges and ultimately enhance learning through block.
CELT led research
CELT led research at the University if Suffolk into effective assessment in a block pedagogy has examined the impact of instances where academics decided, based on their expertise and experiences, to change the type of summative assessment for block teaching as they transitioned from a traditional delivery, which is known henceforth as adapting summative assessments, and to identify which types of summative assessments are most effective in block teaching. The study found
The data from this study indicated that there may be a direct correlation between types of assessment used in block learning and student achievement. The study suggested that enabling students to complete multiple shorter assessments enables a more effective way of scaffolding learning. This mode enables students to receive frequent and regular feedback, to be able to apply and test understanding of feedback in further work.
Chau, H. W., Jamei, E., & Li, M. (2022). Block mode delivery for studio design teaching in higher education. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 1-11. doi:10.1080/14703297.2022.2062031
Dang, B. Y., Ho, E., & Tsang, A. (2022). Learner’s Assessment Preferences in Higher Education: A Comparison Study of High-Achievers and Low-Achievers. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-022-00679-w
Dixon, L., & O’Gorman, V. (2020). ‘Block teaching’ – exploring lecturers’ perceptions of intensive modes of delivery in the context of undergraduate education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(5), 583-595. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2018.1564024
Grant, D. B. (2001). Using block courses for teaching logistics. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 31(7/8), 574-585. https://doi.org/10/1108/09600030110402987
Race, P. (2019). The lecturer's toolkit: a practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching: Routledge.
Walsh, K. P., Sanders, M., & Gadgil, S. (2019). Equivalent but not the same: Teaching and learning in full semester and condensed summer courses. College Teaching, 67(2), 138-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2019.1579702
Group work should be an essential feature of students learning at the University, and it is usual for all students to have an opportunity for their abilities to work within groups to be summatively assessed. In assessing students' work, it is important that the individual achievement of the relevant learning outcomes are demonstrated by each student. It is also good to reward effective or high quality application of the transferable or non-subject specific skills employed with higher marks.