Keynote: Professor Sue Bloxham

Central challenges in transforming assessment at departmental and institutional level

Image 2 for programme SBThere is reasonable agreement about the failings of assessment in higher education and researchers, quality bodies and student groups have all produced propositions, expectations, benchmarks or manifestos to direct sector and institutional change.  One might argue that we don’t need more research, we need to start implementing the findings of the research we have already done!  Indeed, the Assessment in Higher Education conference is testament to our wealth of knowledge about more effective, engaging and fair assessment practice but customs in many higher education institutions have only witnessed change at the margins.

Of course, it is relatively easy to write exhortations for an improved world, but significantly more difficult to engender change when many of these recommendations are dealing with problematic and complex ideas in large and loosely-coupled organisations. The intention of my talk is to briefly summarise the key enhancements to assessment that arise consistently from research and then discuss why we have failed to see significant implementation of these beyond local modules and, occasionally, programmes.  It will draw on work across various disciplines and international examples, concluding with some tentative suggestions for wider institutional and departmental reform which I hope will stimulate discussion throughout the seminar sessions