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1.4 Appropriate Assessment

1.4.2 Reviewing the appropriateness of assessment methods bearing in mind the full range of assessment methods available

Summary of Strategy

Strategic Aim

(Ongoing) Action

Appropriate bodies and student representatives

1.4 Appropriate Assessment

1.4.2 Reviewing the appropriateness of assessment methods bearing in mind the full range of assessment methods available

§ Investigating the suitability of current methods of assessment in the University.

§ Investigating the current policies regarding resits and special circumstances.

§ CUSU AAO

§ CUSU EO

through:

§ Senior Tutors' EC

§ General Board EC

§ College AAOs

Strategy

1.4.2 Reviewing the appropriateness of assessment methods bearing in mind the full range of assessment methods available

The ULTS aim 4.1.5 is 'Appropriate Assessment'. CUSU notes however that the assessment methods used in Cambridge bear great resemblance to those that have been around for many years. CUSU recognises though that the type of students attending University is not the same as those students who attended historically in the past. This, along with an increasing financial investment on the part of the student, means that CUSU believes that it is necessary to investigate if Cambridge's old methods should remain unchanged.

Students' class mark is predominantly based on sitting 3 hour exams taken in a short space of time in their final year. At a time where other leading universities in the UK are using an increasingly wider range of assessment methods, including a significant amount of credit based work such as projects and presentations; it should be examined whether the 3 hour exam system provides a true reflection of the academic ability of a Cambridge student. Faculties should investigate whether a greater range of academic ability and skills should be assessed, as well as addressing the incongruity between the skills developed in supervision work and those currently assessed. Further, the University must recognise the detriment caused to many students by basing their class solely on these small number of 3 hour papers at the end of their degree, with no ability to resit them. While there are resource issues involved, the University must recognise the high price we currently pay for the processes we have in place in terms of resources devoted to them across both Colleges and the University as a whole.

Ongoing action: CUSU Academic Affairs Officer to continue to work and inform discussion with the Senior Tutors' Education Committee and General Board Education Committee in examining the appropriateness of current methods and possible scope for reviewing them. CUSU Academic Affairs Officer and CUSU Education Officer to work with College Academic Affairs Officers to collate student views and examples of cases that demonstrate flaws in the current method of assessment. CUSU Academic Affairs Officer to raise issue of 'bunched timetabling' with the Board of Examinations.


Next section: 1.4 Appropriate Assessment -> 1.4.3 exploring better ways of alerting students to the dangers of plagiarism and provide guidance and support to enable studdents to avoid plagiarism

Previous section: 1.4 -> 1.4.1 Explore further how to encourage effective feedback on summative assessment bearing in mind the full range of feedback mechanisms available in Faculties, Departments and Colleges

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