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Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA)

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Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) is an established approach to the review of assessment. Used in over 40 universities in the UK and internationally, the approach fits well with the activity of curriculum review and programme design by encouraging refresh thinking and robust evaluation of our approaches to assessment. The approach is collaborative, evidence-based, and focussed on the student experience of assessment. From 2017-18 we will be trialling the use of this approach in Liverpool to support our curriculum review and programme design process (Plan-Design-Approve).

The methodology consists of three key components – an assessment audit, focus groups and an assessment experience questionnaire – which all feed into and inform the programme team (design) workshop. The audit identifies such features as: the balance between types of assessment (summative; formative; variety of tasks; proportion of exams); the time and nature of feedback. From the Focus groups and Assessment Experience Questionnaire key features of the assessment design and how it is experienced are highlighted, and the triangulation of this evidence at a programme design workshop allows a well-rounded, informed discussion of the way forward.

Themes arising from TESTA commonly include:

  1. Too much summative assessment: modular degrees create a high summative diet of assessment
  2. Formative assessment is relatively absent and competes with summative
  3. Ineffective feedback: modular design renders feedback less effective
  4. Feedback as monologue
  5. Students are puzzled about goals and standards.

We are encouraging those who are engaging in design or review during 2017-18 to take part in the one-day training on TESTA which will be offered free of charge in January 2018. This opportunity would be most appropriate for Education leads, programme leads, Directors of Studies, AQSC leads and other interested academics and student experience colleagues.

Please note that you must be a member of staff or student at the University of Liverpool to attend this event.

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