Teaching and Learning
This page will take you through some of the different elements you should consider as you design your assessments. They will help ensure that you design assessments that are appropriate to the level being assessed and are assessing the correct skills based on the university Taxonomy of assessment domains and the level learning outcomes. There are also resources to help make your assessment inclusive and accessible as possible.
Good assessment design is important for a range of purposes. It enables:
- all students to demonstrate their learning and, through feedback and feed forward, further their learning and their development and,
- evidence that a student has achieved the intended learning outcomes of the course, apprenticeship, or module at the relevant academic standard for the award.
Taxonomy of Assessment
In combination with the Taxonomy of Assessment Domains there is a set of Postgraduate marking descriptors that can be used and adapted by courses.
Inclusive Assessment Design
Assessment is a key driver for learning. Good design starts with well-written learning outcomes and clear, transparent assessment criteria. Formative and summative assessment should accurately test the extent to which the student has met the intended learning outcomes. When choosing an assessment type, you must also consider whether it is appropriate for the learning outcome which you are intending to assess. Assessment design should be inclusive, anticipating students’ needs and enabling all students to undertake assessment equitably. However, where individual reasonable adjustment is necessary, this will be accommodated. The resources below will help guide staff to create inclusive and accessible assessments.
Regulations and Quality Assurance
Formative and summative assessment
The Taxonomy of Assessment Domains and using learning outcomes
Resources in this section can support academic staff in the design of their assessment when they are specifically considering the progression, comparability and level of their modules and courses
This is primarily addressed through the design of appropriate learning outcomes and using our Taxonomy of Assessment Domains. These resources can be used to
To support the design of courses, modules and assessment
To help staff encourage students to engage in progressively deeper learning during their course
To encourage the precise use of words to describe learning activities which the makes it easier to the develop assessments that reflect the level of demand of the learning outcomes
To show how the learning outcomes are connected to the content of the module, to the assignment and to its criteria
To help staff design and develop module assessment which is appropriately targeted and levelled
To help internal and external examiners- i.e. guesswork is removed as it makes it easier to understand the demands of the assessment question and thus facilitates the grading.
Learning outcomes are the drivers of assessment and of the learning activities which support students towards those assessments.
Our level learning outcomes document can be accessed here.
The design of assessments should be as accessible and inclusive to maximise the opportunity for all students to achieve the best they can. You can find a wide selection of resources to aid your inclusive practice on the page linked below.
When designing assessments they should be design to be inclusive and accessible. There are some resources from Inclusion in higher education conference around inclusive assessment. Annual conference workshops 2019.
Dedicated resources on supporting students undertaking dissertation style assessments are found on the Supporting students undertaking dissertations webpage.
Here are a number of resources around innovative assessment design for a range of levels. University of Reading have produced an A-Z of different assessment methods. If you are looking for ideas of different types of assessment this might be a good place to start. University of Reading A-Z of assessment methods. More information can be found on their website
You can find out about different methods of assessment using the button below.
Word count guidance
This guidance has been produced to help staff consider their best practice in using word limits when they design their summative assessments. It should be considered in parallel to a clear understanding of devising a holistic, innovative and consistent course level assessment strategy.
You can download the guidance here.
You will be aware of the importance of academic integrity through your own academic work. It is also important that our students are aware of what having good academic integrity good means and what it looks like. Services across the University have created a wide range of resources to support students in using the correct referencing and citation methods. B
The University also utilises a piece of plagiarism detection software called 'Turnitin' more information about the use of Turnitin to detect plagiarism can be found here and information about setting up a Turnitin submission can be found here.
Page last updated: 28/06/2022