The Making Assessment Count (MAC) consortium maximising assessment and feedback design by working together
The Making Assessment Count (MAC) project started at the University of Westminster in 2008. It sought to align staff and student expectations of feedback and support greater use of feed-forward approaches. A baseline analysis of staff views in the School of Life Sciences suggested that students did not make strategic use of the feedback they received. A similar analysis of the student position revealed that as a group they felt that the feedback provided to them was often insufficiently helpful. To address this dichotomy, a MAC process was developed in the School of Life Sciences and trialled with a cohort of about 350 first year undergraduate students. The process was based on a student-centred, three-stage model of feedback: Subject specific, Operational, and Strategic (SOS model). The student uses the subject tutor’s feedback on an assignment to complete an online self-review questionnaire delivered by a simple tool. The student answers are processed by a web application called e-Reflect to generate a further feedback report. Contained within this report are personalised graphical representations of performance, time management, satisfaction and other operational feedback designed to help the student reflect on their approach to preparation and completion of future work. The student then writes in an online learning journal, which is shared with their personal tutor to support the personal tutorial process and the student’s own development plan (PDP). Since the initial development and implementation of the MAC process within Life Sciences at Westminster, a consortium of universities has worked together to maximise the benefits of the project outcomes and collaboratively explore how the SOS model and e-Reflect can be exploited in different institutional and subject contexts. This paper presents and discusses an evaluation of the use of the MAC process within Life Sciences at Westminster from both staff and student perspective. In addition, the paper will show how the consortium is working to develop a number of scenarios for utilisation of the process as a whole as well as the key individual process components, the SOS model and e-Reflect.
Keywords: assessment; consortium; coursework; efficiency; e-Reflect; exam; feedback; feedforward; JISC; MAC; online; PDP; peer; reflection; SOS model; strategy; tutor; VLE
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