On 31 January the Meadow Suite in Park House was a-buzz with an air of anticipation as attendees at the Curriculum Framework Conference munched on Breakfast Baguettes and gulped down copious quantities of fresh coffee and tea.
Following a generous welcome and the obligatory identification of emergency exits, the morning’s session commenced with a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking key-note address from Professor Tansy Jessop from Southampton Solent University. Delegates were immersed into a lively discussion of the changing university environment and the impact this has on all aspects of teaching and learning. The key take-away seemed to be that transforming the assessment experience for students requires a programme level approach, and is a critical component in the move from a knowledge-transmission model of higher education, to one of social constructivism. Following an opportunity for collegial networking over a further cuppa,
a choice of parallel sessions offered conference attendees a range of interactive workshops pertinent to the Curriculum Framework ; this blog post will focus on the TESTA Masterclass workshop delivered by Tansy.
The Masterclass introduced participants to the three components of TESTA methodology: 1) Assessment Mapping, 2) a Student Assessment Experience Questionnaire, 3) Student Focus Groups.
The Psychology Department volunteered their level-one compulsory modules as an impromptu case-study to illustrate the process of assessment mapping. This was seen as a brave move by at least one of the participants!
The resulting quantification of both the total number and the spread of assessment types demonstrated the value in undertaking this type of analysis. Participants also had a chance to review the current version of the Assessment Experience Questionnaire, and to review a transcript taken from a student focus group. Tansy skilfully showed the importance of using all three tools to gain a holistic understanding of the assessment environment as a precursor to full-scale review.
TESTA was born out of an HEA funded project; resources, tools and case studies are available online here.
Parallel sessions in both the morning and afternoon also engaged participants in: rapid Curriculum Design, Fostering Belonging in Culturally Diverse Cohorts, Inclusive Practice, Engaging students in curriculum review, and embedding Research & Enquiry, Assessment Literacy, and Employability into the curriculum
From the conference it was evident that curriculum review in light of the Curriculum Framework is gathering momentum. In response to participant feedback, the Curriculum Framework team is planning a follow-up session focussing on what curriculum review looks like in practice. This session will be designed to answer the more practical questions of what, how, and where do I start.
Watch this space!