What is it?
Assessment mapping is a way to ensure that the types of assessment you have chosen are actually assessing the learning outcomes (LOs) of your module or programme. Moreover, it provides a visual depiction of the spread or patterns to ensure a balance of formative and summative assessment, deadlines and feedback returns. For example:
- What are the ‘crunch points’ for students and for your marking load? Can this be mitigated?
- Are your assessments based on too many of the same LOs, or are some of the LOs not really being assessed at all, or minimally?
This is particularly important to consider when designing a module as part of a programme, or a new programme itself. It can also be conducted as part of an existing module or programme review.
Why should I do it?
It helps you to review how (and whether!) your assessments are designed to meet the intended LOs of the programme or module. This means that establishing LOs comes first, then designing appropriate assessment which evaluates the extent to which students have met these LOs. Your teaching methods then help students to prepare for the assessment which enables them to meet the LOs (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005).
Therefore, thinking about assessment requires a shift away from thinking about a class or module in isolation but about a ‘backwards’ approach to module design, where assessment will drive learning in a positive way by providing significant learning experiences (Fink, 2013).
How has it been done?
TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) is an assessment review service offered by King’s Academy. For more information about the process reference this document or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Tansy Jessop who developed TESTA spoke at KCL in January 2018. View her overview of TESTA:
TESTA is an evidence-led approach to understanding assessment patterns on whole degree programmes. The purpose of TESTA is to help programme teams identify enhancements for student learning based on evidence and assessment principles. TESTA uses three methods to gather evidence about the typical assessment experience of students:
- Programme audit (evidence from documents and the team): 90 minutes to 2 hour meeting with programme team to outline assessment and feedback practices across a programme.
- Assessment Experience Questionnaire (based on established assessment principles) : Online questionnaire (readily available from King’s Academy) about assessment and feedback experiences that go beyond the NSS questions. This questionnaire is aimed at students in the final year of the programme.
- Focus groups with students: Organised and conducted by King’s Academy.
- Final report: An analysis of three data points delivered to programme lead who then disseminates the findings at her/his/their discretion.
There are some useful examples of how to conduct assessment mapping and analysis:
- The ESCAPE project from Jisc has some downloadable mapping tools and examples of how to analyse assessment patterns.
- Carol Evans’ EAT framework provides a comprehensive ( if quite complex) guide to evaluating and improving assessment patterns.
- HEA’s website provides some resources and information, including the opportunity to attend courses.
- The University of Bradford’s PASS project looks specifically at cross-module assessment as part of a new way of developing programmes.
What are the potential challenges?
- Bringing together a committed team who are able to dedicate the necessary time and energy.
- Gaining colleagues’ commitment to understand and change assessment culture.
- Time in advance to get programme and module approval and modification forms through the necessary committees.