Centre for Scholarship and Innovation
The aim of this project is to investigate the impact of different assessment strategies used in Stage 2 modules in the School of Life, Health, and Chemical Sciences (LHCS), and to determine if the assessment type used contributes to awarding gaps that may be observed for disadvantaged and/or underrepresented students studying Stage 2. This project will consider both individual assessment design and module assessment strategies.
Prior analysis of all Stage 2 modules in LHCS over the period 2019 to 2021 has identified that some modules out-perform others, and that differences in awarding gaps for three categories of students (Black students (1), those with a declared disability (2), and those that fall into areas classified as high socio-economic deprivation, as determined by indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) (Q1 vs. Q5) (3)) are seen in some.
This project will seek to determine if key features of module assessment are associated with awarding gaps for categories 1, 2 and 3 as defined above. After modules of interest are determined (one module in which students perform particularly well, and another in which assessment outcomes are less favourable), and assessment types are compared, a questionnaire will be designed and disseminated to obtain data on past students’ perceptions of their module assessments. (NB: Surveys of previous presentations, for example for S111 and S112 resulted in a good response rate of over 10% of the cohort. If a similar response rate is not seen here, a survey to students in a current presentation will be used instead). Depending on the questionnaire responses, focus groups may be held to explore these perceptions further. In addition to this, analysis of performance at the level of individual assessment and question types will be performed.
Completion of this project could form the basis for numerous subsequent studies including analysis of language used in assessments and how this impacts student understanding and performance, and development of assessment models and practices that help to ensure equitable outcomes for all our students. The module-level analysis proposed is more in-depth than that routinely required of module teams for Quality Monitoring and Enhancement (QME) processes and should provide a valuable dataset that module teams can draw on and use as a basis for developing targeted interventions in their modules.
This project is timely given the substantial level of module production in LHCS, with both the new Biomedical Sciences qualification, and more widely across the School. It is hoped that findings from this project will inform module and assessment design.