Assessing learning and giving feedback

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As you can see, a number of different assessment strategies (methods and tools) can be used. The important thing is to choose 'the right tool for the job', and select one which aligns with the intended learning outcomes. To help you consider the right tool for a particular assessment, consider the eight broad categories of learning outcomes compiled by Lee Dunn (2011) from Oxford Brookes University.

Note: the authors of this resource refer to assessment methods such as portfolios, posters, reports group work under each of the eight categories. However, for the purposes of this course, these methods are regarded as tools for assessment.
  1. Thinking critically and making judgements - (e.g., developing arguments and reflecting) could be assessed using essays and journals.
  2. Solving problems and developing plans - (e.g., identifying problems, and analysing data) could be assessed using practical scenarios and group work.
  3. Performing procedures and demonstrating techniques - (e.g., computation, and using equipment) could be assessed using role play, skills testing and posters.
  4. Managing and developing oneself - (e.g., working co-operatively and working independently) could be assessed using portfolios and learning contracts or agreements.
  5. Accessing and managing information - (e.g., researching and organising information) could be assessed using annotated bibliography and projects.
  6. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding - (e.g., recalling and describing) could be assessed using exams and essays.
  7. Designing, creating, performing - (e.g., visualising and producing) could be assessed using presentation and projects.
  8. Communicating - (e.g., communication individually or within a group; verbal, and written) could be assessed using written or oral presentation or observation.

  • Explore an assessment method and tools that you are not currently using. You may also wish to access information on different methods such as: Written, Tests and exams, and Practical.
To avoid losing your way, right click and select 'open in new window'.
  • How could you use the assessment method and tools you have explored in your teaching?

Assessment feedback

One could argue that feedback is an integral part of the learning cycle, and as you learned previously this can take place through the assessment process, either formatively or summatively. Is student success as measured by assessment outcomes, an indicator of student engagement.

The Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) measures student satisfaction and engagement at New Zealand and Australian tertiary institutions. (Otago Polytechnic staff enrolled in this course can access the 2012 AUSSE report for the polytechnic on their staff intranet.) The AUSSE survey includes only one statement related to feedback:

  • Received prompt written or oral feedback from teachers/tutors on your academic performance.

In 2012, less than 60% of students in Australian and New Zealand responded "often" or "very often" to the above statement! Clearly, then, there is a problem with providing feedback on assessments and performance. Using the survey statements as a basis, it is obvious that the problem will be addressed if we provide meaningful and timely feedback that enhances student learning and performance. But, can this be done?

To find out more about giving feedback, please refer to:

The main point that he makes about feedback is that it should be used to actively improve student learning.

OP icon activity.gif


Look at the good feedback principles for giving feedback in Spiller's (2012) and Boud's (2009) resources.
  • Consider how you currently provide feedback to students.
  • How could you improve the feedback provided to students to deepen their learning?
  • Post to your portfolio and share the link on the Moodle forum.