DCU Learning Innovation Unit: Focus on Assessment and Feedback

Learning Innovation Unit

Assessment approaches and good practice

There are many roles for assessment and as such there are also varying approaches and methodologies. The approach you choose should be determined by the purpose of the assessment.

Much of the discussion currently taking place around assessment focuses on the importance of linking assessment to learning outcomes, ensuring that students are aware of that link and providing them with effective feedback on their performance.

The following are ten principles of good assessment and feedback from Nikol (2007).

Good assessment and feedback practices should:

  1. Help clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards)
  2. Encourage ‘time and effort’ on challenging learning tasks.
  3. Deliver high quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct.
  4. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem.
  5. Encourage interaction and dialogue around learning (peer and teacher/student).
  6. Facilitate the development of self-assessment and reflection in learning.
  7. Give learners choice in assessment – content and processes.
  8. Involve students in decision-making about assessment policy and practice.
  9. Support the development of learning communities.
  10. Help teachers adapt teaching to student needs.

Use the following exercise to evaluate your own approach to assessment practice using Nicol’s guiding questions under each principle: Assessment Evaluation Exercise.