Teaching and Learning
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Design and loading

The Quality Manual states that "the assessment for a module should be no more than the minimum necessary to test its learning outcome".

Module specification guidance
in the Quality Manual

The QAA uses the following categories of assessment methods to describe practices used across subjects, modes of delivery and institutions:

  • Written exam: including variations such as "seen" and "unseen" papers, and open-book arrangements
  • Written assignment: including essays, briefings, reviews, reports on activities such as fieldwork, and longer dissertations
  • Portfolio: compilation of coursework often with reflective comments
  • Products of project work: especially in practical projects eg artwork or performance
  • Oral assessment: conversation or a formal presentation
  • Practical skills assessment: Observation of performance in, for example, a clinical setting, translation task etc
  • Group critique: tutor and/or peer feedback on visually presented work
  • Set exercises: to test application of knowledge to problems or data sets.

Ensuring fairness for disabled students and students with dyslexia

We have a duty to make reasonable adjustments in assessments to allow disabled students to perform to the best of their ability.

Alternative exam arrangements are recommended by Academic Support in conjunction with the school and the student involved. A common adjustment for dyslexic students is 25 per cent extra time in timed exams.

For coursework extra time is not normally allowed, and the learning outcomes of the course form the basis for deciding which adjustments are possible. Examples of how this has been achieved include:

  • reconstructing a historical artefact in place of writing a dissertation about its design;
  • making a radio programme in place of a dissertation about a topic.

An alternative assessment should still test the same learning, and academic standards should not be compromised.

What colleagues are saying about design and loading

more about design and loading from the "Talking of teaching" blo

Clarifying assessment criteria and setting expectations

"I think, in Nigeria, your performance, the years are equally weighted ..."

Blog post with full transcript


Assessment regulations

more from Quality Manual on Assessment 


Further reading …



Professional Development

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