Assessment and Feedback Professor Susan Lea, Vice- Dean (Education) Consultation
Assessment and Feedback Pr ofessor Susan Lea, Vice- Dean (Education) Consultation Challenges within Institute of Psychiatry Data was gathered from: • Marking turnaround: All programmes are keen to meet the deadline but 1. A review of the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) programme annual reports, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) report and own School Feedback report 2. A consultation at School Teaching Committee and Programme Leaders’ Committee (a focussed discussion was held at the latter) 3. Informal consultation with staff and students by the Vice-Dean (Education), the IoP Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, and the Chair of the IoP Teaching and Programme Leaders Committees Good pr actice • Forensic MSc programmes: A senior academic meets with all students to go over their first essay and give them one to one guidance. • MSc Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry: Students complete quarterly monitoring forms which enable the Programme Committee to ensure students are making adequate progress and have all the support and resources they need, that they are establishing realistic goals and identify any difficulties before they develop into significant problems. Student feedback revealed that the forms helped students keep focused on their goals and ensured they were meeting targets. • Clinical programmes: There is evidence of the use of diverse and creative assessments at the IoP, although there is possibly limited awareness of this within the Institute. Some clinical programmes use a practice viva which integrates clinical case material, assignments and attending a viva panel – which includes a service user or carer – to assess advanced practice (e.g. social work). The ‘enhanced skills in nursing’ short course uses video-taped clinical examinations with actors who role play clinical scenarios. Areas for further development Assessment and feedback received the poorest feedback from students on the PTES. Areas highlighted for further development are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Prompt feedback Receipt of feedback in time to inform future assignments Usefulness of feedback in clarifying problems Receipt of detailed comments on work Use of clear marking criteria Fair assessment arrangements “Complete lack of feedback throughout the year on coursework submitted and exams was very disappointing.” “Feedback on written work takes too long expected to submit further work without being able to take account of feedback from previous essays.” “Essay feedback should be much more details covering positive aspects as well as points for improvement.” “More constructive feedback for coursework would be very helpful. Getting marks back on time is an issue.” “Feed back on assignments takes too long to come back.” students and staff on some programmes identified that the deadline was missed. A number of programmes have made specific efforts to ensure compliance with the 4-week deadline. Greater uniformity across programmes is required with an appreciation of the significance of assessment within the education process. In particular, difficulties are encountered where clinicians with a large number of commitments struggle to meet the turnaround time for assessment marking. • Communication with students: Articulating assessment criteria, how marks are arrived at and constructive feedback (in various forms – written, face-to-face, electronic) are essential elements of the process and important in terms of managing student expectations. This would include informing students explicitly of any delay to their receiving course feedback and providing a new date which is adhered to. • Sharing of best practice: The School is keen to develop ways to share best practice across Departments, and the current governance review being undertaken by the Vice Dean (Education) includes a focus on this activity, in dialogue with programme leaders. This should reduce somewhat the independent working of Departments and any new framework will be reviewed against the objectives set. Strategic issues • Computer hardware and software need to be updated if e-assessments are to be viable and sustainable, particularly with reference to timed assessments and examinations. • Markers need to be made aware of what constitutes ‘good’ and appropriate feedback. In particular, providing feedback on excellent work presents a challenge to some. • Using the range of marks available – especially at the top end for postgraduate students. • Regression to the mean where work is double marked, and moderating down. It might be worth considering the introduction of categorical marking or at least supporting such a scheme where it is deemed helpful. • Many academics find it challenging to develop creative approaches to assessment for students because of the time taken to do so and, depending on the assessment, the resource heavy nature of some of these (e.g. OSCEs, ISCEs, inclusion of service users and carers in assessment). It would be helpful to be able to share assessment best practice across the College, reducing the existence of silos and colleagues re-inventing the wheel. • Assessment is not perceived to be valued as a general academic or specific educational activity; yet, it is crucial to good pedagogy. The significant efforts at enhancing the status of education within the College will assist with the cultural change required to address this issue. It may be helpful to articulate the education strand of the Academic Performance Framework in more detail to assist with this process.