Student-led compendium of assessment launched by LITE

ASSESSMENT team: (l to r) Joe Kent-Waters, Theatre and Performance, Lydia Smith, Olivia Seago (both Chemistry) and Dr LITE Fellow Dr Samantha Pugh outside 18 Beech Grove Terrace, University of Leeds.

A UNIQUE collection of different higher education assessment methods from a students’ perspective have been put together by LITE Fellow Dr Samatha Pugh.

The Compendium of Assessment Techniques in Higher Education: From Students’ Perspectives is a compilation of degree level assessment techniques from similar UK and international universities researched by three University of Leeds students in their respective disciplines and curated by Dr Pugh.

Undergraduates Olivia Seago, Lydia Smith, both Chemistry, and Joe Kent-Waters, studying Theatre and Performance, worked over the summer to develop the compendium that contains reflections on 58 different variations of assessment methods as part of a 113 page booklet.

The team drew upon their own experiences, and further research, to review each of these assessment methods, focusing on skills assessed and advantages and disadvantages from teaching delivery and student experience perspectives, as well as providing opinions from their experiences as students.

They researched methods of assessment used for the five subjects at other universities, and these included Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Education, and Theatre and Performance.

The authors also chose to look first at other universities in the UK, focussing on the Russell Group, so the methods found could be comparable to those at Leeds, in terms of teaching and learning experience.

The search was extended to universities in the top 50 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, looking for alternative assessment methods in the study subjects, at institutions not yet researched.

The compendium is part of Dr Pugh’s wider LITE fellowship work on Rethinking University Assessment by Learning from Secondary Education which is due to be completed later this year.

She said:

“A number of resources of alternative assessment techniques already exist, both as disciplinary focused and as generic collections of assessment methods, but I thought that what was lacking in currently available collections was the students’ perspective on different assessment methods.

“I have always been a keen advocate for working with students on education projects, both within the curriculum and through a range of funded summer internship projects and I really value the student perspective on my work, it provides a wonderful learning experience for students, and every student I have ever worked with in this way has really brought the project to life.

“In this particular case, for me, it was vital that we considered assessment methods from a student perspective. By working with Joe, Lydia and Olivia, we were able to obtain deep insights into student perspectives on assessment.

“Obviously, this compendium is not exhaustive and it has only covered five discipline areas and by three students. It is, however, clear to see that most of the assessment techniques are either discipline agnostic, or could easily be translated into another subject area.

“I hope that colleagues from across the sector will value this student perspective on university assessment. I look forward to working with colleagues who wish to reconsider their balance of assessment as we rethink university assessment.”

The project has been supported by the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE) at the University of Leeds.

LITE Director, Dr Kelvin Tapley, said:

“This compendium should be a very useful resource that provides a snapshot of current degree-level techniques of assessment methods from across similar national and international universities.

“It’s real value, however, lays in its unique and invaluable student perspective which shines a fascinating light on the perceived effectiveness of assessment from their point of view.

“This is an excellent resource and one that LITE is proud to have been involved in.”