Reflections on academics' assessment literacy

Lees, Rebecca and Anderson, Deborah (2015) Reflections on academics' assessment literacy. London Review of Education, 13(3), pp. 42-48. ISSN (print) 1474-8460


This small-scale, mixed-methods study aims to investigate academics’ understanding of formative and summative assessment methods and how assessment literacy impacts on their teaching methods. Six semi-structured interviews and a scrutiny of assessments provided the data and results suggest that while these academics understand summative assessment, they have a poorer awareness of the implementation of well-constructed formative assessment. While the academics were able to clearly articulate the perceived benefits to students from undertaking formative assessments, they were less able to identify potential benefits for themselves as educators, so these went largely unrealized. Opportunities therefore exist for tutors to utilize the outcomes of formative assessment to improve student performance, particularly around tutor-reflection to amend future learning and teaching approaches in line with the theory underpinning summative and formative assessment methods. The study highlights the importance of considering all stakeholders when thinking about assessment literacy.

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