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Summative assessment has a positive impact on learning

Typically students focus their efforts on assessment that carries marks or grades, that is summative assessment.  Whilst feedback is generally provided on coursework and some feedback is provided on examinations, students benefit from opportunities to undertake non-assessed activities that generate feedback or enable them to evaluate their own learning.  This is particularly important for first year students since the first year now accounts for 10% of their degree classificattion. 

Note: there is no policy that says feedback cannot be given on examinations.  This is not covered by the Data Protection Act and the University warns External Examiners that students have the right to request to see comments on examination scripts.

Ways to do this:

  • Provide opportunities to practise skills before doing the assessed work
  • Students complete a number of small summative assessments with regular feedback
  • Mock exams or provide opportunities for students to do past exam questions
  • PDP portfolio identifying evidence of achievement
  • Staged assignments – breaking the assignment into parts that are completed over time with feedback
  • Provide feedback on examinations

Some Queen’s examples

  • CSC2007 Games Programming


    By requiring the students to decide the weighting for three assessment criteria and the engagement that is necessary with the marking criteria to do this, then the summative element of this work is effective in student learning.  

    A number of Schools provide oppportunities for students to receive feedback on their examinations:

    School of English 

    School of Law  - note the School of Law provides details to students of formative and pre-assessment feedback on all the modules offered.