Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Academics speak out at last …but will it change things?

A group of 34 British Academics under the banner of ‘The Weston Manner Group’ have produced a manifesto calling for major changes in how Universities assess their students. It will be a great triumph if their efforts re-orientate current assessment fashions characterised by an ‘obsession with marks and grades to one which puts more emphasis on developing effectiveness for learning, rather than assessment of what sometimes passes as learning. The main points from their ‘Assessment standards: a manifesto for change’ were:

  • "Put more emphasis "on assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning";
  • Move beyond systems focused on marks and grades towards assessment of the achievement of programme outcomes;
  • Recognise that standards may be difficult to articulate explicitly;
  • Develop assessment and feedback processes that engage staff and students in dialogue about standards;
  • Make discussion of standards between staff and students an integral part of course design and the learning process;
  • Establish forums for the development and sharing of standards within and between disciplinary and professional communities".