HaSS Teaching Fellowship

The project has its own dedicated site at: http://ebusiness.ncl.ac.uk/fellowship (only available from within the Newcastle University's network).

Workshop: Institutional Assessment: Policy & Practice

Monday 4th December - 12.30 - 2.30pm, Room 2.20, Research Beehive, Old Library

Assessment is one of the most powerful teaching tools and how it is used can significantly affected students' performance. As a result, a process of forming an institutional strategy for assessment or at least for monitoring assessment patterns within an institution can provide valuable insight into the students' learning experience. This event is part of a research project undertaken as part of a HaSS Teaching Fellowship. During the event participants would have the opportunity not only to discuss institutional assessment policies and their practicalities, but also use an analysis system that can help form such policies.

Lunch will be provided during the event. If you plan to attend, please contact Dr Papagiannidis.

The Project

Assessment is one of the most powerful teaching tools and how it is used can significantly affected students’ performance. As a result, a process of forming an institutional strategy for assessment or at least monitoring assessment pattern within an institution can provide valuable insight in the students’ learning experience.

Dr Savvas Papagiannidis has built a prototype tool to analyse assessment methods based on students’ module selections. The tool’s main aim is to underpin the evaluation of assessment strategies and benchmark these against practice, from both a staff point of view and a student’s point view at a degree level. Of course, assessment strategy is not just a matter of exam-coursework balance; it embraces many other matters. However, being able to review the balance of modes of assessment across programmes and cohorts does have real value.

The Fellowship will allow Dr Papagiannidis to fully develop the tool and built more functionality into it. It will also provide a platform on which to launch a wide-scale study using the tool across the Faculty and the University and study the assessment policies and practices of each School. The study would be able to address the general concerns in the Faculty and the University about the nature and volume of assessment, rendering the project highly relevant to the strategic aims for learning and teaching.

In practical terms, the assessment tool enables one to analyse patterns in programmes with complex sets of module choices and provide an insight into how students are influenced by these patterns when making their choices. Consequently, it could provide a valuable decision support tool for academics and students, who could now identify how their practice fits in their learning environment. In addition, the tool could be used by each School’s management team when setting institutional assessment policies, by providing automated reports on assessment patterns. The reports generated could also identify assessment trends by comparing historical to current data sets, where possible.

The tool has already been applied to the module selections of undergraduate Business and Management students and Dr Papagiannidis has come up with recommendations for future research. As the analysis is not School specific, the tool can easily be adapted and used in different settings throughout the University.

Potentially, the Fellowship could help identify other areas where similar decision support tools could enhance formulation of teaching strategies and help academics capture a holistic picture of the teaching environment in which they operate.

Influencing colleagues and the community of practice

The project’s central aim is to positively influence practise by encouraging academics to question their assessment and other aspects of their teaching. Using an efficient and easy to use tool the teaching and learning committees in each School will be able to assess their School’s current situation, benchmark it against their set goals and help evaluate their future strategy. Academics will be prompted by the reports generated by the tool to questions their assessment methods and justify their use in a wider context.

Reflective approach to teaching

Once strategies and the current practice have been reviewed, academics will need to evaluate their own roles and actions within a wider framework and assess whether there is scope for changes that could enhance the students’ learning processes. In doing so, they will be reflecting on their practice not just within the narrow scope of their modules, but within a wider arena. Even though, from the academics’ point of view, attempting to ‘normalise’ their modules’ assessment methods within their institutions strategy can prove to be a substantially complex tasks, an evaluation of the methods used will alert teaching stuff of potential issues and encourage them to address them.

Philosophy of Teaching

For Savvas' philosophy of teaching statement please click here.