About a year ago, I published this post about trying to avoid marking hell. I said I would try to design assignments so that:
- Students feel proud of what they’ve done when they submit the task
- I look forward to marking the submissions
- Submissions are manageable to mark and moderate
- The contribution of the task to the overall aims and objectives of the course is clear to students, colleagues and external reviewers
- Someone else could run the assessment task easily if I fall under the proverbial bus
Manifestos are all very well, but have I stuck to it? Since then, I’ve had to redesign all of the units (modules) I teach as part of a review, so I can’t say I haven’t had the opportunity. The first major deadline since then was yesterday. I have had a quick look at the submissions, though I haven’t yet marked them.
I’ll have to ask the participants about the first one on the list, although from my quick look, I hope that they do feel proud of what’s been done.
Number 2: I AM looking forward to the marking – well OK, does anyone ever look forward to grading? – but definitely to reading/watching/listening to the submissions. I think number 4 is definitely achieved.
The submissions are sort of manageable, but they aren’t scaleable, because I gave a free choice of style and format. We’ve had: 1 face to face presentation, 1 DVD, 1YouTube video, 1 set of bound booklets, 2 Powerpoints with audio narration, and the rest as PDFs but in very different styles. I think I know what’s going on, but I am pretty sure the moderator is going to have to watch his language when I try to explain it.
Which brings me to number 5. I haven’t documented this very well, so if I do fall under a bus, nobody will have a clue what’s going on. Must do better next time.
I’ll get some proper feedback from participants about the experience. The offer of choice was definitely difficult for most people and I did answer a lot of questions about it (‘do what you like’ wasn’t enough of a steer!) but part of the aim of the assignment was to get people to think about what kinds of things demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes, so I think it was important.
Did I say that the assignments are on ‘Assessment in Higher Education’, which does add another layer of complexity to any analysis?
And no, of course I didn’t write this to distract me from getting on with the marking. I’m looking forward to it!