I've never written a top 5 list before, but here is a "top 5": list from me.
Emeritus Professor at Leeds Metropolitan University and Educational Development Consultant Phil Race has shared lots of his materials on his website. The compendium of his writings on assessment is ideal for experienced teachers as well as lecturers starting out. He also shares his thoughts on the National Student Survey and his page “If I were in charge…” motivates reflection on the way universities operate.
Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development
Lots of great resources here on almost everything you can think of from assessment to plagiarism, internationalism to course design. I’ve found its page on writing learning objectives with its extensive list of appropriate verbs valuable on numerous occasions.
E-learning blog “Don’t waste your time”
I found the website of David Hopkins, Learning Technologist at Bournemouth University when trying to find out what a QR code was (I’ve yet to feel that the purchase of smart phone is justified, but all the students seem to have them). The poster downloads on topics like using blackboard are helpful as so are the tips on making effective use of blogs and Twitter (lots for me to learn here.)
Ok, I might be a bit biased here as some of my colleagues at the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies led the project to build this teaching resource repository. The HumBox describes itself as “…a new way of storing, managing and publishing your Humanities teaching resources on the web.” The beauty of Humbox is its remarkable simplicity of use. Once you have set up an account you can upload and download resources in virtually any format, as easily as is technologically possible. I really started appreciating HumBox when trying (often unsuccessfully) to use some other repositories (no names will be mentioned here).
A mixed bag as you might expect, but some great material and good production standards. As I write I am listening to a round table discussion on “Why French Matters”. A highlight for me is Dan Judge’s statistics lectures which succeed in making a difficult subject (for me) so engaging.
Mantz Yorke’s article in the latest edition of Studies in Higher Education “Summative Assessment: dealing with the measurement fallacy” has caught my eye. In my view assessment is (and arguably should be) anxiety producing for the assessor as well as the student. Yorke’s concern, as he notes in the first paragraph is for the students who are neither very strong or very weak, the bulk of students “where differences between individuals tend to be small, but can have a large impact on opportunities” (p.251).
Reflected in over 70 references the article covers a lot of ground including the UK degree classification system and the appropriateness of a classification grade which somehow summarises all summative assessment over the course of three or four years of study. Changing the classification for a letter grade or an overall percentage is not in itself any better—Yorke quotes the VC of Bedfordshire University’s evidence to the House Commons universities, Sciences and Skills committee “… as a chemist I would be telling my students not to average the unaverageable, then I would walk into an examination board and do exactly that”.
Yorke identifies many of the familiar and less familiar flaws in assessment and concludes that we need to acknowledge these before any improvements can be made. He writes of taking an overly judgemental approach to summative assessment to challenge the measurement (and seemingly scientific) fallacy of summative assessment. This would (my summary here from Yorke’s points on pp.262-265.
- Make it unambiguously clear (to students and others) that summative assessment are judgements, not refined measurements.
- Would help deal the variability in the use of the percentage scale (if percentage scale is really an accurate way of describing the marks given to students) between disciplines and for difference types of assessment within disciplines.
- Require students to accept that assessment grades are judgements of their work and not precise measurements. (Perhaps this would be the most difficult sell here).
I can’t do this article justice in summary form—it is well worth a read for anyone who deals with assessment in higher education.
Reference: Mantz Yorke, “Summative assessment: dealing with the ‘measurement fallacy’,” Studies in Higher Education 36, no. 3 (2011): 251-273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075070903545082