Support for assessment practice: developing the Assessment Design Decisions Framework

promoIn 2012 I co-led a team with Margaret Bearman to investigate the question: “How do university teachers make decisions about assessment?” This led us to talk with academics from around the country on how they do their assessment design work – and what we can do to help. We ended up producing the Assessment Design Decisions suite of resources, with support from an Office for Learning and Teaching grant. We just had an important paper published from that project which shows the working behind those resources.

Support for assessment practice: developing the Assessment Design Decisions Framework Teaching in Higher Education, 2016. Bearman, M., Dawson, P., Boud, D., Bennett, S, Hall, M. & Molloy, E.

There are many excellent publications outlining features of assessment and feedback design in higher education. However, university educators often find these ideas challenging to realise in practice, as much of the literature focuses on institutional change rather than supporting academics. This paper describes the conceptual development of a practical framework designed to stimulate educators’ thinking when creating or modifying assessments. We explain the concepts that underpin this practical support, including the notions of ‘assessment decisions’ and ‘assessment design phases’, as informed by relevant literature and empirical data. We also present the outcome of this work. The Assessment Design Decisions Framework. This provides key considerations in six categories: purposes, contexts, tasks, interactions, feedback processes and learning outcomes. By tracing the development of the Framework, we highlight complex ways of thinking about assessment that are relevant to those who design and deliver assessment to tertiary students.

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