Section 1: Introduction to Assessment
Why do we assess?
“The purposes of assessment may overlap and be reciprocal or can conflict.” (Lubinescu et al., 2002, p. 15)
Assessment in UK Higher Education has evolved as a result of a number of different drivers, each with its own emphasis and agenda (Boud, 2014). The collection of practices we now refer to as ‘assessment’ therefore serves a range of purposes, related to the different stakeholders involved. The quote at the beginning of this section, although referring to the US higher education system, highlights a tension often encountered by academic staff around the world when designing assessment: how to create assessment tasks that meet the needs of all the stakeholders in the process?
The QAA (2012b, 2013b) outlines the roles involved in assessment and their differing requirements. Briefly,
For students, assessment is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding or competence, as well as to gauge progress and determine areas for further development.
For staff, assessment can help to evaluate not only the progress of the students, but also the teaching and learning support provided on the course.