Improving assessment tools, marking and feedback in HE

By Richard Havinga, E-Learning Solutions Architect, CoSector – University of London

In the UK HE sector, providing assessments and feedback is a critical part of the overall student experience. And yet it is the one area where students consistently report the least satisfaction in their National Student Survey feedback.

Most universities have assessment policies in place to ensure students receive a mark that is fair and accurate, whilst also providing feedback to facilitate students’ academic improvement. Institutional assessment policies often include a requirement that work be double-blind marked, where any identifiable information is removed to eliminate personal bias from the marking process. This helps improve the consistency of marking and feedback.

How are institutions currently coping?

In many universities, marking and feedback are still delivered offline, with students typically receiving annotated printed copies of assignments submitted via the VLE. Part of the reason for this is that most tools, without customisation, only support a single grade and set of feedback for each submission. Ultimately, this leads to mass printing, manual entry, increased marker workloads, and a slower return to students, which in turn results in lower assessment and feedback satisfaction scores. 

What is Bloom doing about this?

Bloom VLE includes Coursework, an activity tool that allows up to three assessors to be allocated automatically (based on rules) or manually to each submission. Each assessor can then grade and attach feedback and then collaborate to agree on a final grade and feedback for submissions. Allocation rules include assigning a portion of grade boundary marks, as well as automatically distributing submissions to assessors based upon percentages (eg assessor 1 should have 40% of work and assessor 2 should have the remaining 60%). Coursework has also recently been integrated with Turnitin, allowing universities to take advantage of similarity reports as well. 

How can I get involved and see a demonstration? 

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