Edufest is a two-day event held every year designed to assist staff to reflect upon and develop their approach to learning and teaching, with this year's focus on assessment & feedback. Here, our CLT Student Assessment and Feedback Champions provide an overview and discuss what they gained from the event.
The event began on the 9th of May with Professor Julian Chaudhuri (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education) who gave the attendees a welcome address that emphasised the importance of assessment and feedback.
The first event for the day was a round table talk, known as a liquid café. During this event, the attendees rotated around tables where specific questions related to assessment and feedback were up for discussion. The table that the CLT Assessment & Feedback Champions maintained our focus on had a question about how feedback can be made more effective for assessment. During the discussion, we realised how various departments utilise powerful feedback mechanisms such as verbal and peer feedback. We also realised that consistency is important but to what degree should also be taken into consideration - each discipline and course require students to obtain different skills, so there will be some variation across the University.
The liquid café was followed by a networking marketplace where we presented our very own table on assessment and feedback. This provided an opportunity to focus on practices that should be started, stopped, and continued in the various strands that we students are working on such as: Academic integrity, inclusivity, and accessibility. The student champions had very fruitful discussions with various attendees providing us with useful feedback and insight from a staff perspective. A valuable piece of feedback that we received was to increase transparency between academic staff and students to ensure that students are aware of the assessment and feedback process.
Edufest carried on to the 10th of May. The second day was held online and was no less thought-provoking than the previous. The day began with a keynote address from Dr William Houstoun titled Magic in Assessment & Feedback, followed by a series of lightning talks from staff. The CLT Student Assessment & Feedback Champions then contributed to a debate session on how to develop assessment and feedback practices at the university. One of the questions that was discussed was What lessons have been learned over the past couple of years on online assessment?
We expressed students’ desire for timely and constructive feedback – a common theme from our work so far. We emphasised that students should be involved in the process of learning by reflecting on their own learning. And finally, fed back thoughts around continuing online assessment in the following years as benefits include assessing students’ understanding and improving their ability to process information.
Staff expressed their concern about preserving academic integrity through online assessments, and they wished to shift the focus to preparing students to assess and solve unforeseen, unknown situations.
Through this tremendously successful event, we realised that students and staff both wish for similar changes to be brought about regarding assessment and feedback. There is a terrific opportunity to implement these suggested changes at Bath. The feedback received is to be utilized in the various strands the CLT Student Assessment & Feedback Champions are currently working on to improve the assessment and feedback system at Bath for both staff and students.
Written by Swathi Pravinkumar assisted by the other Champions Mimi Mihailescu, Kenna Skoric, Harshita Gupta, Gayathri Chandran and special thanks to Anuska Chakraborty who was also our photographer on the day.