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  5. Challenges of assessment for a level 3 interdisciplinary module: an AL and student perspective

Challenges of assessment for a level 3 interdisciplinary module: an AL and student perspective

Project leader(s): 
Jenny Duckworth and Harriet Kopinska

The level 3 module SDT306 Environment: Responding to Change takes an interdisciplinary approach to the challenges of responding to environmental issues. It fosters development of the skills required to contribute to sustainability debates, examines issues from multiple perspectives, and takes a holistic view of environmental systems.

The module employs criterion-based marking according to Learning Outcomes (LO). Tutors provide assessment feedback using a marking grid containing a detailed breakdown of the criteria relevant for each LO. The grids are designed to facilitate application of LO grading scales and to enable parity between tutor mark allocations, whilst simultaneously giving constructive feedback to students around LOs. However, student perception of the grids and how they engage with the grids is unknown, while tutors report that it can be challenging to ‘translate’ criteria into scores, particularly where several criteria apply to one LO.

Our research question is: “How do students and tutors use the marking grids on SDT306 and what is their experience of this approach?” We will collect and analyse quantitative and qualitative data on how tutors use the grids to determine LO grading scales, and how students interpret the grids and apply them to their learning. 

The analysis will generate a detailed insight into the student/tutor perspective on the use and interpretation of marking grids that could inform the future provision of marking guidance.

Applying this knowledge could lead to the following outcomes:

  • More consistent reference to LOs in feedback by tutors
  • More consistency in grading between tutors
  • Increased student awareness of LOs and application to their learning
  • Evidence for the value of this marking grid approach to STEM modules and those in other faculties that use a similar approach to assessment.

Jenny Duckworth and Harriet Kopinska poster