Self assessing teaching about assessment

A day developing educators at Cardiff University. The topic was assessment: why and how. and being of a self-critical and reflective nature. I am inspired to assess myself.

It was OK. I’d say a pass, maybe even a high pass but not really a merit. The discussion was good and facilitation was satisfactory. Midway feedback was pretty good. The participants were engaged; they did well. But there was not enough “why” or “how” (theory weak) and a sense that I was outside my comfort zone.

I could appeal for mitigation. I didn’t write the workshop or prepare the slides. I didn’t organise the schedule of the day. But I was on-point: the one the participants looked at and to. I had to manage those things without passing the buck.

There is a discourse of assessment in higher education. It takes in a few key concepts. We did address validity, equity, authenticity and reliability. We touched on diagnostic, formative and summative assessment; peer, group and tutor assessment. We looked at marking schemes. We barely flitted across levels. We focussed on criteria-referenced systems and tools for implementinig marking ctriteria but only took a few swipes at norm referencing, despite its constant shadow presence. Learning outcomes and constructive alignment were handled awkwardly although they are “my” topic. And the application of technology to assessment was only problematised: few solutions were offered. Topics, which should be strengths of mine – and are hot current topics: group and peer assessment – were given short shrift.

I felt sympathy with my PCTHE students who often say they are not in control of many factors in their teaching. I usually feel in control of mine. Today I was riding other people’s waves. That in itself was interesting, but I could do better and didn’t have the time.

Maybe that is a problem with running a workshop called “assessment”.

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