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Diversifying Assessment

The Role of Diversity in Assessment

There are numerous benefits that result from engaging students in a diverse range of assessment methods. In particular, providing access to a repertoire of assessment techniques can:

  • allow students to express their learning in different ways, thus reducing the risk that anyone may be disadvantaged by the extensive use of a particular form of assessment. In this sense, diversification of assessment methods facilitates a more inclusive approach to assessment design
  • support the development of a broader range of academic, personal and employability skills, and gives students more latitude to demonstrate their knowledge and skills across a range of contexts (Ramsden, 2003)
  • increase engagement by providing opportunities for more inspiring or authentic methods of assessment, which in turn can help to reduce cases of plagiarism by seeking an individualised response
  • produce better alignment with intended learning outcomes and methods of delivery.

A programme level approach can draw on different assessment methods to meet different assessment purposes, whilst ensuring that all students are exposed to a variety of assessment methods. However, as Bloxham and Boyd (2007) point out, it is also important to balance multiplicity of assessment methods with a recognition that students need to have the opportunity to become familiar with different assessment techniques in order to be able to demonstrate their learning effectively. This means that programme assessment strategies should provide a reasonable variety of assessment methods but schedule their introduction within modules and across the programme (166).

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