Aligning skills, assessments and feedback: a programme-level scheme

Aligning skills, assessments and feedback: a programme-level scheme

School: Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Team Members: Sue Widdicombe, Anne Templeton, James Donaldson


This staff-student collaboration project will develop, implement, and evaluate a programme-level scheme for aligning assessments, grading criteria, feedback and learning. It focuses on skills we want students to acquire through course assignments. The shift to skills-focused feedback aims to address a lack of clarity in, and the non-use of, feedback, and help students close the gap between current and good performance. We propose to do this by aligning assessment, learning outcomes, marking criteria and feedback within and across modules clearly and consistently; providing instruction and resources so students can make improvements; and opportunities for feedback from different sources. We propose that prioritizing skills-focused marking criteria and feedback allows us to achieve this alignment. It has the additional advantage that skills are, in essence, transferrable to other assignments; they can be learned and practised; and they are directly related to graduate attributes.

We have piloted this scheme successfully in Psychology, developing and using a rubric describing how the skills are manifested in varying degrees of performance and relating these to students’ own work. Student and staff evaluation of this scheme was very positive. Therefore, we aim to extend this scheme to other courses and disciplines, test it further, and develop an online self-help resource to support it, using examples and practical exercises in the skills identified as areas for improvement. Overall, we aim to promote student engagement and empowerment in their own learning, in a way that allows them to develop them progressively over time and across modules.