Developing more inclusive and fairer assessment practices in relationship to group work in the biosciences

Page, Nigel, Usman, Salman, Denholm-Price, James, Eastwood, Jonathan and Hill, Natasha (2018) Developing more inclusive and fairer assessment practices in relationship to group work in the biosciences. In: Evolving molecular bioscience education; 12-13 Apr 2018, Chester, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Developing graduate attributes is essential to any bioscience curriculum; and the ability of students to work in productive teams is one attribute, which is often directly assessed. However, there can be challenges including defining relevance and to the effectiveness of empowering students to work together. Compounding this, is the need for accurate determination of individual student contributions along with ensuring the inclusivity of group assessment. We embedded workshops/activities to lay the foundations for group work co-delivered by academic/career service staff on effective teamwork/presentations. To enable a fairer and more representative approach to assessment, we trialled anonymous technology-facilitated peer-moderation (TEAMMATES) with students measuring the contribution of their peers (and their own) with the feedback being used to determine the accuracy of an individual student’s contribution. Used both formatively/summatively, TEAMMATES enabled staff to identify students who contributed less than others and adjust marks accordingly. Compared to paper forms/meeting logs, TEAMMATES can make team-moderation speedier, easier and more transparent. Analysis of historical demographic data from three modules to determine impact on inclusivity found no evidence that assessed group work adversely effected BME students with no significant differences being found in groups composed of BME/non-BME/mixed students. Overall, the student experience including providing greater preparation and use of TEAMMATES has been positive (‘definitely a fairer way of doing it’) and goes some way to convincing students of the benefits of working together on group assessments.

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