Developing assessment practice with holistic feedback

One of the outcomes of the EMA co-design project is the interest in holistic feedback on assessment. It’s clear to a lot of people in the sector that it’d be beneficial for
learners, markers, tutors and others if assessment took in a complete view of a learner’s journey, and if feedback engaged the learner better, and also went further back as well as forward in time. We’re now exploring how we can bring that ideal a little closer for most in the sector.

Having examined various feedback hub types, it’s clear that they are a promising, but also a relatively new technology category. For that reason, Jisc are exploring how we can help support the take up and use of feedback hub technologies, and we have decided to focus on two broad types in the first instance.

One type is the VLE plugin feedback hub; extensions to common VLEs such as Moodle and Blackboard that show feedback from across different modules and years. These have the advantage that they integrate where much of the feedback data often already is, and it’s in a place where a lot of people look first. Some plugin development is already under way, but the challenge is to make them work with a variety of VLE, student record system and assessment service combinations.

The other type is the assessment service, some of which have holistic feedback features. These services are web based systems that offer a variety of marking and plagiarism checking features. These assessment services have the advantage that they don’t require local installation, and integrate with a variety of web and mobile platforms, not just a VLE. Here too, though, the challenge is to make integration with other assessment data sources easy.

Fortunately, for the long term, work has started within IMS to address the need to move assignments between various systems, and we’re participating in it. Custom integrations could work on the shorter term for that purpose, and standard solutions already exist for moving marks around.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore how we can help take the development of these feedback hub systems forward, and how we could start a development phase where more FE and HE providers can try out the systems and develop practice. We’ll update once that exploration has completed.

Stay tuned!

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