Oh no not another literacy! Higher education seems to be awash with literacies (academic, digital, information to name but a few) so why do we need another? And why promote students’ assessment literacy: surely it is a staff rather than student domain?
The importance of assessment and feedback for encouraging and guiding students learning is without doubt, but there is much evidence of problems and dissatisfaction with many aspects of the assessment process. Efforts have been made to resolve those problems but they have been made within established beliefs about the nature and operation of assessment that were founded in higher education of a different era. Higher education now operates in a dynamic and changing environment with higher participation rates, broader curricula, diversified programmes and different student expectations. Therefore we need to take a different perspective on assessment and although there have been several calls for educational professionals to have a better understanding of assessment, this misses out the other partner in assessment – the student.
This Briefing tells the story of a university student who was puzzled by not receiving the high grade the student had expected. The work was independently reviewed, but the original grade was confirmed. The rest of the story is about the power of concrete examples of work of the highest quality as a means of conveying what quality meant, in this learning context.
It originally appeared in 2002 as chapter 16, pp. 130-136, of P. Schwartz and G. Webb, eds, Assessment: Case studies, experience and practice from higher education, London: Kogan Page. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the author and the publishers.