Keynote: Scaling up assessment for learning

Scaling up Assessment for Learning
Prof. David Carless, Professor, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong
09:30-10:30, 9 June 2017 (Friday)
Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong
Medium of instruction:
English 英語
Learning and assessment at scale (OER, MOOCs, E-learning, etc.)
Dr. Allan Yuen, Director, CITE, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong

Slides & Video


Assessment for learning is defined as an assessment process in which a primary priority is the promotion of student learning. I propose and discuss four key assessment for learning strategies: productive assessment task design; effective feedback processes; developing student understanding of the nature of quality; and students practicing making judgments.

I analyze the potential of these strategies to be scaled up or distorted in relation to how assessment is managed in MOOCs. Scaling up is conceptualized as comprising four interrelated dimensions: spread, depth, sustainability and shifts in ownership (Coburn, 2003).

Key points of analysis include the potential of MOOCs to be a site for productive peer assessment, particularly in view of the important research finding that composing peer feedback is generally even more useful than receiving peer comments. Peer feedback can also mitigate the challenge of providing personalized feedback at scale.

I make some contrasts between general principles of sustainable feedback and the kinds of feedback feasible in MOOCs. Some alternative ways of providing feedback at scale are also discussed, including video feedback and the use of annotated exemplars.

The presentation concludes with some thoughts about relationships between assessment for learning and technology by touching on two themes. The first is the role of leadership in providing resources and incentives, and the second is the potential of communities of academic practice to promote collegial forms of development.

About the speaker

Professor David Carless is currently serving as Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. He specializes in approaches to assessment which serve to support productive student learning processes. His main research contributions have focused on learning-oriented assessment and sustainable feedback.

His signature publication is the book Excellence in University Assessment: Learning from Award-winning Practice (2015, Routledge) which was the winner of a university Research Output prize in 2016. He has also co-edited two recent books, Scaling up Assessment for Learning in Higher Education (2017, Springer) and Reconceptualising feedback in higher education (2013, Routledge).

In 2016, he was a winner of a University Outstanding Teaching Award. He has also won awards for research achievements (2014) and quality doctoral supervision (2013). He is the Book Reviews editor for Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. He tweets @CarlessDavid .