Much research has been conducted into learning approaches (Trigwell and Prosser, 1991; Entwistle and Ramsden, 2015), and the distinction between surface, strategic and deep learning is well established. As it is generally believed that assessment significantly influences learning (Torrance 2007; Nicol, 2009; Race, 2015), assessment should, ideally, foster deep approaches to learning. Deep approaches are elicited by complex and meaningful tasks which:
- allow students to engage with the course material deeply and preferably, personally (Ramsden, 2003);
- help students think like researchers and professionals in the discipline (Meyer and Land, 2005);
- have longer-term value beyond the end of the module or even the end of the programme (Boud, 2000).
This does not mean that traditional assessments such as essays and exams inherently foster surface approaches and encourage rote-learning, especially if they are well designed. However, as students come to King’s for a rich educational experience in a research-intensive university, the more students are given purposeful assessment tasks which intellectually stimulate them, the more they will be equipped to get the most out of their education.
This section provides a variety of assessment practices which emphasise authenticity and facilitate meaningful engagement at all degree levels.