Assessment and Feedback Professor Susan Lea, Vice- Dean (Education) Consultation

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Assessment and Feedback Professor Susan Lea, Vice- Dean (Education) Consultation
Assessment and
Pr ofessor Susan Lea, Vice- Dean (Education)
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:
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
“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
• 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.
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