e-Assessment and Feedback for Effective Course Transformation (e-AFFECT)
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e-AFFECT is a JISC funded project which will run from September 2011 until August 2014. The aim of the project is to transform staff and student experience of assessment and feedback across Queen's University through the effective use of technology.
Since 2005, the National Student Survey (NSS) has exposed Assessment and Feedback as the lowest rated aspect of the student learning experience within Queen’s. Improving this has been a University priority given its impact on student learning. Queen’s own First and Second Year Experience Surveys (introduced in 2007 and 2008) confirm that the problem exists at all levels.
Queen’s sought to address the challenge of assessment and feedback through a Higher Education Academy Enhancement Academy project. Five School-based projects developed practical solutions to enhancing practice. Bespoke online resources based on the Re-engineering Assessment Practices project (REAP) principles of good practice were developed which include exemplars from within the University. This was accompanied by an institution-wide feedback campaign led by the Students’ Union to enhance student understanding and use of feedback. Whilst institutionally there has been some improvement in NSS scores over the last two years from 3.4 to 3.6 in 2011 it is not consistent across all subject areas. Indeed, in some areas it has either deteriorated or remained low. Barriers to change in assessment practices include concerns about work-load and losing personal contact with students.
e-AFFECT aims to build upon existing good practice and drive strategic change with respect to assessment and feedback at Queen’s. The project seeks to change processes and practices in Schools to improve the student experience of early formative feedback. In particular, it will focus on timeliness of feedback, the quality of feedback, developing a dialogue between staff and students on feedback and the requirement to match student needs with staff workloads as well as engender greater student engagement with the feedback provided. This will be done by identifying opportunities to promote new behaviours in assessment and feedback supported by the use of appropriate tools. A flexible and responsive approach to variable needs will allow a choice of technologies that may be adopted to support institution-wide change in assessment and feedback process and practice.