Assessment has been a central feature in higher education for decades. With years of experience in optimising pen-and-paper exams, digital exams were starting to slowly take over as a new and resource-effective tool. Until 2020, when the pandemic struck. Digital exams had to take centre stage - effectively over night. A year on, we are now at a point at which we need to take a step back and assess what we have learned from our abrupt transition from tradition to innovation.
Throughout today’s events, a vast array of inspirational speakers guided us through this challenging topic - which was kicked off by a panel discussion focussing on what the future of assessment could, should, and might look like. With key contributions from prof. dr. Marije Michel, dr. Steffen Eriksen, and dr. Nicolas Mangin; the future of multiple choice exams, the inclusion of peer-(to-peer-)feedback, and the role of formative assessment were disentangled in a lively discussion. Key insights, such as the importance of transparency towards and inclusion of students in assessment, pathed the way for the second panel discussion about Teaching in lockdown.
With a particular focus on building a community and problem-based assessment, prof. dr. Steven Hoekstra, dr. Myroslav Kavatsyuk, and dr. Catherine Rigollet shared some of their poignant insights into the effective use of digital tools as well as the use of authentic assessment. At this point, the importance of students’ agency in the development of assessment and curriculum became a vital component in defining the effectiveness of assessment. By providing students with control and ownership of their project(s), student involvement increases which subsequently impacts their academic development positively - especially in times of COVID-related restriction in which students are not able to get in contact with one another to foster their academic development as easily as in the past.
Keeping students’ agency in assessment as a central focus of creating a vision of assessment for the future, the third panel of the day aimed to find common ground when comparing big versus small-scale assessment. Representatives of the teaching and student populations of various faculties shared their experiences on this extremely challenging topic. Early on in the discussion, formative assessment was identified as a crucial element in shaping the assessment of the future. Tying in to the stimulation of students’ contribution towards assessment-development and creating interactive environments for students and their peers, the discussion formed a framework for creating assessment that tackled the issue of fraud-prevention whilst marrying staff and students’ desire to include formative (self-steered) assessment strategies.
It was wonderful to see that numerous people participated in multiple discussions throughout the day which fostered the knowledge transfer across all groups. Key observations from previous discussions found their place in the interactive parallel sessions towards the end of the day. In the first round, dr. Roberta Rutigliano as well as mr. Esther Hoorn took the time to introduce us to the innovative use of Instagram in (online-)education alongside a fruitful discussion about the role of privacy in research and education. Both sessions shed light on the unique challenges we currently face, but also provided inventive and contemporary solutions to these issues.
The day was rounded off by a final set of parallel sessions. During the session led by dr. Erin Wilson, the topic of assessment took centre stage (quite literally). Dr. Wilson shed light on the use of theatre in assessment and outlined its use across a variety of scenarios. In tandem, dr. Sander van Lanen and dr. Peter Groote contributed to today’s insights by outlining their use of formative progress testing to support students in better identifying their own progression within the programme.
All in all, today’s talks layed out an extensive list of topics, techniques, and solutions to further optimise our use of digital and hybrid assessment across all curricula. Topics such as formative assessment, group-led education, and the reinvention of the students’ role in assessment are sure to drive novel assessment strategies in the future.
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