The Single Most Consequential Thing We Do in Universities: A Case Study in Teaching Assessment to New Academics

Grant Campbell (University of Manchester, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 329
EISBN13: 9781466644182|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3661-3.ch019
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Assessing students (including giving feedback and making decisions based on assessments) is arguably the single most important thing done in universities in terms of tangible impacts on people’s lives, but assessment is hard to do. Academics are seldom trained in assessment, and for many it is the most worrying aspect of the job. The University of Manchester operates a New Academics Programme for its probationary lecturers, running over three years and encompassing research, teaching, and administrative aspects of academic careers, culminating in a reflective portfolio. This case study describes the introduction of an assessment component into this programme, including its motivation, content, implementation, and evolution, and its reception by the new academics. The assessment component of the New Academics Programme is now delivered in two sessions at different times of the year. The first covers the importance of assessment and gives guidance for designing good assessments and giving feedback. The second session goes more deeply into constructive alignment and learning outcomes, leading on to decision making in exam boards, and ending with a focus on cultivating academic judgement.
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