• Author(s): Dr Rosalind Duhs
  • Title: Assessment and feedback to students
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, assessment, feedback
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text, Presentation
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, RTF, ODT, PPT, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 6th July 2011, 12th August 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA


Diagnostic quiz key and comments


1. (b)

2. (b)

3. (a)

4. (b)

5. (a)

6. (a)

7. (a)

8. (b)

9. (a)

10. (a)


This diagnostic test serves as a basis for discussion. Common terms used in assessment in higher education can be clarified through the quiz items. Subsequent learning can then be based on a shared understanding of key concepts.

If you are working in a group, avoid focusing on quiz scores as participants with less experience of assessment in higher education may not be familiar with these terms.

Suggested responses

An explanation of the responses in the key above follows.

1 (b)

’Reliability’ in assessment in higher education is often used in relation to inter-scorer (or inter-rater) reliability. If inter-scorer reliability is high, lecturers marking the same piece of work against the same criteria and marking scheme arrive at the about the same mark. A range of studies suggest that this is often not the case (Sadler, 2005, 2009).

Testing student attainment of intended learning outcomes is good practice. Students should be informed of learning outcomes, provided with opportunities to attain them through teaching and learning activities, and be required to demonstrate that they have achieved intended learning outcomes by completing relevant assessment tasks.

2 (b)

Summative assessment contributes to final results. Although it has traditionally taken place at the end of courses, students now often have a range of summative assessment tasks to complete during a course. The advantage of this approach is that assessment is not restricted to high stakes occasional time-limited opportunities to demonstrate attainment of course intended learning outcomes.

3 (a)

It is true that formative assessment or feedback to students on their work provides students with information on their progress but does not contribute to course grading. However, there is no reason why assessment should not be both summative (contributing to final grades) and formative (providing students with information on their progress). For instance, if students get feedback on their exam scripts, summative assessment will also be formative.

4 (b)

Summative assessment is assessment which contributes to a student’s final grade or result. It is not the final grade or result.

5 (a)

Validity does mean that what is tested is what has been taught and what the examiner aims to test.

6. (a)

Inter-scorer or inter-rater reliability means that two examiners marking the same assessment task would award the same score. As mentioned above, this type of reliability is not easy to achieve so grading criteria, marking schemes and standardisation are needed. Double (preferably blind) marking and external marking are also important.

7 (a)

Summative assessment does contribute towards the final grading of student performance.

8 (b)

Summative assessment can be formative. See point 3 above.

9. (a)

It is true that the main function of formative assessment is to provide students with feedback so they can improve their performance. Formative assessment is also useful to teachers because results help them to evaluate how effectively their teaching is facilitating student learning.

10. (a)

It is good practice to provide students with grading criteria at the start of a course and inform them as to how their progress is to be assessed both formatively and summatively. If students have the chance to assess their own work and the work of their peers, their results improve (Rust, Price, & O’Donovan, 2003).


Rust, C., Price, M., & O’Donovan, B. (2003). Improving students’ learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(2), 147-164.

Sadler, D. R. (2005). Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education. 30(2), 175 - 194.

Sadler, D. R. (2009). Grade integrity and the representation of academic achievement. Studies in Higher Education, 34(7), 807-826.

Creative Commons Licence
Assessment and feedback to students by Dr Rosalind Duhs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Contact us: cpd4he@ucl.ac.uk

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