We know that assessment is where the rubber hits the road for most students. Deadlines drive intellectual effort. The problem across the sector is that students are not getting the most from assessment. Why? Because the structure of all degrees across the sector makes it harder for students to join the dots between one assessment and another. Assessments are like London buses. For ages you stand waiting at a rainy bus shelter for the Number 73, and the suddenly four buses appear within five minutes. The stress of multiple assignments arriving simultaneously affects students to work below their potential. This is compounded by the absence of engaging formative assessment. Academics work hard at writing feedback for students, who often fail to see its value because it arrives at the end of a unit and does not appear to feed forward to the next task.
This is where TESTA comes in, because it helps course teams to join the dots of assessment and feedback across units. TESTA data paints a rich picture of the student lived experience. Not only does it involve a robust research process, but it also provides a strong student and programme perspective. More than that, it is a change process involving dialogue and discussion between members of course teams and academic developers. TESTA gives academics a real flavour of what is going on across the whole programme through student eyes, and provides educationally principled options to address common assessment problems.
TESTA has taken the UK sector by storm, with more than 50 UK, Indian and Australian universities using it. It is now co-led with Winchester, out of Solent. The TESTA team at Solent are continually working to refine the research tools, develop the change process, and bring fresh theory to the process. This film tells you more about its impact. Get in touch with the TESTA Project Leader Professor Tansy Jessop, if you want to know more!
by Prof Tansy Jessop