Assessment & Marking

How do I devise effective assessment?

In a nutshell

Effective assessment of student performance against the intended learning outcomes of a course unit / programme is an essential part of University education.

Effective assessment can take many forms, including:

  • Summative (assessment of learning) – marks contribute to the final grade, including coursework and examinations.
  • Formative (assessment for learning) – used to improve student performance, usually through feedback and/or feedforward.
  • Peer – peer assessment has been shown to provide valuable and different feedback to that from tutors, and enhance student understanding of assessment requirements.
  • Self – develops important transferable skills in students and has been shown to improve overall student performance.
  • Group – group work helps develop employability-related skills in addition to those specific to the subject matter.
  • Online – saves marking time and can provide instant feedback; the use of rubrics (online marking schemes) aids the consistency and speed of marking and feedback.
  • MCQs – are often thought of as limited to testing simply recall of facts, however, careful design of questions can provide a more varied and robust measure of a range of types of learning. MCQs have the advantage of being generally suitable for online delivery and automatic marking, so can be used for both formative purposes and summative examination.
  • Practicals – practicals can be used for formative and/or summative assessment – there is a FSE Practical Teaching Group that meet regularly to share good practice. Also see this Lab-based Teaching (pdf, 780 KB) resource.

Key research / evidence / case studies

Research spans several fields, including education and cognitive science.

Relevant University policies and procedures

A framework and policies exist at University level, in addition to Faculty and local guidance and practices.