Assessment is the aspect of higher education with which students are least satisfied (Medland, 2016). Using technology to support the assessment life cycle is one approach to improve satisfaction, offering benefits for students and also academic and administrative staff (Ferrell and Gray 2016). However, careful consideration is needed as to how technology is used to achieve this and what value is being added (Kirkwood and Price, 2014) in order to bring about a sustainable and effective outcome.
In January 2017, the University of Reading launched a 3 year Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) Programme, to improve the assessment experience for students and staff. The EMA Programme comprises of multiple workstreams focusing on a broad range of areas from Systems through to Change Management. This presentation focuses specifically on the E-Submission, E-Feedback and E-Marking (eSFG) workstream, which aims to support the adoption of existing submission and marking tools and to standardise approaches across the institution while not constraining pedagogy.
The session will be structured in 5 parts:
1. A brief introduction to assessment challenges in the national sector, the University’s EMA Programme and the eSFG workstream. This will provide context for the audience.
2. An outline of the eSFG workstream’s initial approach, identifying and working with 2 Early Adopter Schools in transitioning to eSFG. This will include topics such as: School empowerment and leadership; staff development and engagement; development of the assessment workflows; categorisation of assessment types and mapping to recommended tools; development of rubrics.
3. Evaluation and reflection on the Early Adopter approach including successes, insights and lessons learned.
4. Adaptation of the Early Adopter approach for scaling up and working with the University’s other Schools (commenced February 2018). This includes changes in staff engagement methods; redesign of staff development; increased focus on the role and support for administrative staff.
5. Progress to date in working with all Schools in their transition to eSFG, and reflections on the eSFG workstream.
This presentation strongly links to the Collaboration for Learning Technology theme:
• Working together: the eSFG workstream team is comprised of staff drawn from multiple units across the University including TEL, Academic Development, Schools and Administrative Support Centres. Drawing on this wealth of expertise has helped in identifying and implementing sustainable solutions but also brings challenges and complexity.
• Scaling up: the presentation will explore how Early Adopter approaches have been adapted for wider use across all Schools
• Staff empowerment and leadership: a key principle of the eSFG workstream has been around working in partnership and not imposing practice. The presentation will explore how this has been achieved.
The session will be of interest to other institutions who are embarking upon eSFG or wider EMA initiatives.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
The session is based on the E-Submission, E-Feedback and E-Marking (eSFG) workstream within the University of Reading’s 3-year Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) Programme (January 2017 to December 2019).
The aim of the eSFG workstream is to support the adoption and best use of existing eAssessment tools and plan the approach to eSFG University-wide roll out.
Two Early Adopter Schools were initially chosen to pilot and collaboratively develop eSFG processes, systems and support methods (June 2017 to January 2018).
Qualitative feedback and quantitative data collected throughout the Early Adopter period is now being used to inform the approach and scaling up of the eSFG work with the University’s other Schools.
The session will share the following:
• Evaluation and reflection on the eSFG Early Adopter approach, including successes and insights through thematic analysis of the feedback from staff development and engagement sessions; and academic and administrative staff ‘Lessons Learned’ sessions.
• Examples from datasets which profile the different types of assessment in each School across all modules. The datasets are used to: understand current approaches to e-submission, e-feedback and e-grading within each School; estimate the degree of change required to meet the standardise approaches; identify the module assessments that need to be reviewed; how to support Schools with their transition to EMA.
• We will also reflect upon the benefits, challenges and complexity of working in a cross-disciplinary University-wide team.
Ferrell, G. and Gray, L. (2016) Electronic Management of Assessment. [online] Available at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/electronic-assessment-management [last accessed: 22.03.2018].
Kirkwood, A. and Price, L. (2014) Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education: what is ‘enhanced’ and how do we know? A critical literature review. Learning, Media and Technology, 39(1) pp. 6–36.
Medland, E. (2016) Assessment in higher education: drivers, barriers and directions for change in the UK, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41:1, 81-96.