The Assessment and Feedback area should include clear information and guidance about all aspects of formative and summative assessment activity for a module.
This should include:
- Detailed explanation of assessment requirements, deadlines, and submission processes.
- Clear explanation of the purpose of assessment and guidance about assessment criteria.
- Links to sources of additional support and guidance including those listed in the Study skills section.
Note the range of tools available to support assessment through Blackboard Learn:
|Interaction focus||Supported tools|
|Tutor – Student,
Student – Student and
Student – Tutor.
|Turnitin – info|
|Bb assignments – info|
|Bb tests and surveys – info|
|Bb discussion boards – info|
|Bb wikis – info|
|Bb blogs – info|
|Bb journals – info|
|Bb Groups – info|
|Bb Collaborate – info|
Assuring academic integrity
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have published a range of information and guidance for the higher education sector related to changes in learning, teaching and assessment online. Key information can be accessed here: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/news-events/support-and-guidance-covid-19.
Specific guidance about ‘Assessing with Integrity in Digital Delivery’ is available here: https://www.qaa.ac.uk//en/news-events/support-and-guidance-covid-19/academic-standards-supporting-student-achievement. Key points about academic integrity are:
“Academic integrity should always be at the heart of institutional approaches to quality and standards, and has particular importance now for ensuring that:
- Students can learn and benefit from the process of learning
- All students are treated fairly and equally
- Processes are transparent
- All staff understand and follow these processes
- The standards and value of academic awards are maintained
Good practice includes the following:
- Ensuring students are prepared and that they have developed the skills necessary to succeed in their assessments, such as academic writing and referencing skills.
- Discussing academic misconduct with students so they are clear about what is prohibited and why.
- Ensuring students understand the long-term and ethical benefits of completing their own work.
- Discussing the risks of engaging with contract cheating services. This includes blackmail and extortion because, once a student has cheated, they will be permanently vulnerable, not only while in higher education but into their professional careers.
- Ensuring students are aware of the institutional processes and potential consequences if they are caught cheating.
- Developing internal networks of academic integrity support. It is important that these involve students given most students are strongly opposed to essay mill use – both for ethical reasons and because they see such malpractice as a threat to the value of their own qualifications.
- Making use of available guidance, such as that provided by QAA.”
It is important to recognise that academic integrity is a multifaceted issue, is not just an issue of policing ‘cheating’ from assessment and requires a combination of approaches by everyone involved in supporting student learning. With respect to student approaches to assessment, this means recognising that:
- Understanding matters (recognition not only of what the rules are but why integrity matters)
- The culture matters (working to limit the desire to adopt negative behaviours by making leaning meaningful for students)
- Processes matter (procedures are rigorous, robust and followed through)
- Design matters (assessment is designed to promote integrity and inhibit or preclude opportunity for negative approaches)
In terms of assessment design (particularly for take-away papers and open-book examination):
- Focus on assessing functioning knowledge (✅) rather than declarative knowledge (❎). E.g.:
- Avoid factual questions (when did ‘x’ happen?) and focus instead on requiring the student to describe their thinking or demonstrate their working methods (why did ‘x’ happen and what are the implications of this for ‘y’?)
- Why not provide questions and answers and require students to explain why they are correct or incorrect?
- Personalise or individualise the examination for the student. E.g.
- ‘Focusing on your project work topic’ (inhibits plagiarism), or ‘using your allocated unpublished research paper’ (disrupts collusion).
- Assure integrity by:
- Implementing short qualifying viva voce assessments to reflect on the examination (‘talk me through your response to question…’).
- Embedding a discursive, first-person reflection question.
- Correlation analysis against formative quiz performance.
Writing better assignments in the the Post-Covid19 era: approaches to good task design.
For technical help contact the TEL team