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  5. The S112 assessment strategy: student behaviours and subsequent success in higher level study

The S112 assessment strategy: student behaviours and subsequent success in higher level study

Project leader(s): 
Jim Iley

S112 is the only Level 1 module within the OU to adopt Single Component: Exam. This is a deliberate strategy to prepare students for examinations at higher level, and involves 6 assignments, which contribute 39% to the OES (3 x 3% ‘formative’ assignments, and 3 x 10% that assess skills more difficult to address through an examination, viz. practical, collaboration, and communication) and an examination that contributes 61%. To further prepare for the exam, students are provided with all the materials around which the questions will be based as ‘seen materials’. The pass mark is 40% for their OES; there are no thresholds.

The benefits of this strategy are that it:

  • provides students with a clear understanding of their ongoing achievement towards passing
  • provides stepping stones for progression and therefore contributes to developing student resilience
  • allows students to miss one or more assignments, and even to pass the module without submitting any assignments

The disadvantages are that:

  • students can ‘game’ the system and engage with the minimum of assessment (the exam) to pass the module
  • because of the preceding bullet, students may not be sufficiently prepared for subsequent study at Level 2

This proposal sets out to:

In Phase 1

  • analyse student assessment behaviours during the first presentation (17J) of S112 (i.e. What was their level of understanding of the assessment strategy from the outset and how did that influence their behaviour? Did they know that they only had to do a certain number of TMAs?)
  • identify how frequent any ‘gaming’ behaviour is
  • identify any previous module contraindications (SDK100, U116, S111)

In Phase 2

  • identify if the S112 assessment strategy behaviours has subsequent impact on student performance in Level 2 modules

The findings have the potential to impact:

  • the kinds of advice students are provided with by the SST
  • approaches to single component assessment across the university, especially the use of SCA-exam to prepare students for higher level

Jim Iley presentation