Inspiring Transformation through TESTA’s Programme Approach

Tansy Jessop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores evidence from 75 undergraduate degree programmes at 14 UK universities about students’ experience of assessment and feedback. The data was collected through the Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) project. TESTA illuminates students’ whole programme experience of assessment and feedback within the context of modular curriculum design. The methodology consists of an audit to ascertain dimensions of the assessment environment, and focus groups with students. Analysis explores the relationship between assessment design and students’ lived experience. Findings show the prevalence of high summative and low formative assessment diets, and disconnected feedback which students find difficult to use. High summative diets reinforce students’ instrumental approach to learning. A lack of formative assessment impacts on engagement in learning, diminishing opportunities for risk-taking, creativity and wider reading. Findings from TESTA have prompted educationally principled strategies: rebalancing the number of summative and formative tasks with greater connections between them; devising formative assessment tasks valued by both students and staff; and designing feedback to feed-forward. Wider implications include establishing institutional mechanisms to ensure principled, evidence-based and programme-focused assessment; and feedback design within existing curriculum processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScaling up Assessment for Learning in Higher Education
EditorsDavid Carless, Susan Bridges, Cecilia Ka Yuk Chan, Rick Glofcheski
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-3045-1
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-3043-7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameThe Enabling Power of Assessment


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