What’s next for the Digital Assessment Team?
By Marieke Guy, on 10 October 2022
In his conversation with Mary Richardson at the UCL Education conference earlier this year Professor David Boud laid out the unavoidable truth that “students are profoundly affected by how they are assessed, it provides messages to them about what really counts”. He explained that assessment “has to contribute to students learning” as student learning behaviour is both framed and driven by assessment. In essence good assessment is imperative in ensuring good education. At UCL we are lucky to have a dedicated Digital Assessment team based within the Digital Education team in ISD. This gives us a real opportunity to improve the assessment journey for both staff and students.
A little history
Back in 2020 the AssessmentUCL Project (or product) was established to “procure and deliver an end-to-end digital assessment delivery platform to support online assessments”. The project successfully purchased and implemented Wiseflow – the first part of the platform known as AssessmentUCL. During the first exam period of 2020-21 more than 1,071 assessments were delivered in 48,742 sittings. This increased to 1,717 assessments at 57,590 sittings in 2021-22. Throughout the process the product team have listened to feedback on experiences from staff and students, and shaped regulations and policy accordingly.
To support the transition to online assessment at UCL, the Digital Assessment team was formed in September 2021 and led by Anisa Patel. The new team initially comprised of a team of five Digital Assessment Advisors (DAA) responsible for different faculties and a Learning Technologist. Over the last year the team has worked incredibly hard. They have developed hands-on training (running 45+ training sessions over the last year) and comprehensive guidance covering the AssessmentUCL platform, they have championed the capabilities of the platform and tested all aspects of functionality. They have also spoken at length with faculty colleagues to understand their assessment needs and requirements. In some sense they have been acting in an ‘ambassador’ role – making sure students, academics and professional staff are heard. This has resulted in positive enhancements for both the platform and wider assessment practice.
Plans for this year
The team continues to evolve and right now we have three DAAs: Eliot Hoving, Isobel Bowditch and Lene-Marie Kjems; one Learning Technologist: Nadia Hussain and one Senior Learning Technologist: John Spittles. You can read more about the team on the Digital Education Team site, and which faculty they are responsible for supporting on the Education support contacts page. I have recently taken on the position of Head of Digital Assessment at UCL, moving on from my previous DAA role.
In the 2022-23 academic year our approach two pronged. Firstly, we plan to ensure scalable and effective support for AssessmentUCL. We will do this through improving our support model and training resources, continuing to push forward improvements to the AssessmentUCL platform and ensuring the effectiveness of current policies and practices. Some of the areas we will be looking at including the use of formative assessment and on-campus digital assessment using a lockdown browser. And secondly, we will look at other areas in which we can support good assessment design and delivery more widely. We want to explore and promote best practice and be leaders in the assessment area. For example, we have begun work on an academic integrity and misconduct project to help us better understand the issue from both staff and student perspectives, and to identify strategies to promote academic integrity and support in this area. Whenever possible we will be working in collaboration with Arena, our academic colleagues, the Central Assessment Teams and the AssessmentUCL product team. It is likely to be a busy year!
We have started a team blog to share our activities and support wider assessment discussion, and also plan to post more regularly on the Digi-Ed blog.