George Brown is a retired professor from the University of Nottingham



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Some principles of assessment
The key principles of assessment may be derived from the model in Figure 1. They are:
• assessment shapes learning so if you want to change learning then change the assessment method;
• match the assessment tasks to the learning outcomes;
• match the criteria to the task and learning outcomes;
• keep the criteria simple;
• be fair, reliable and valid in your marking;
provide meaningful, timely feedback.
Do you apply these principles?
Common weaknesses
Common weaknesses in assessment are:
• the tasks do not match the stated outcomes;
• the criteria do not match the tasks or outcomes;
• the criteria are not known to students;
• students do not understand the criteria;
• overuse of one mode of assessment such as written examinations, essays, or closed problems;
• overload of students and staff;
• insufficient time for students to do the assignments;
• too many assignments with the same deadline;
• insufficient time for staff to mark the assignments or examinations;
• absence of well defined criteria so consistency is difficult to achieve;
• unduly specific criteria which create a straitjacket for students and make marking burdensome for lecturers;
• inadequate or superficial feedback provided to students;
• wide variations in marking between modules and assessors and within assessors (selfconsistency);
• variations in assessment demands of different modules.
By implication, more effective assessment systems are relatively free of these weaknesses. Are yours?




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