Assessing at a distance
"Future-proofed assessment" was one of the themes of the Economics Network Virtual Symposium 2021, looking at lessons learned from a year of blended teaching. Topics included open-book exams, viva voce assessment, and sampling problem sheets.
In September 2020 we ran a virtual symposium on adaptable assessment, sharing what we have learned from assessing during the pandemic. There are many case studies, tips, and videos to explore. Here is a short overview.
Theory and Background
There is a vast literature on assessment in higher education, some of it is directly related to economics.
Our Handbook for Economics Lecturers has six chapters relevant to assessment.
- Assessment and Feedback (2019)
- Detection and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education (2017)
- Undergraduate Dissertations in Economics (2016)
- Assessment Design and Methods (2013)
- Groupwork and Assessment (2005)
- Alternative forms of formative and summative assessment (2002)
The journal Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education is devoted to assessment related matters and publishes many articles on economics.
Many books are devoted to assessment. A book with a practical orientation is
- Bloxham, S. and P. Boyd (2007), Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education: A Practical Guide, McGraw Hill.
In the Handbook for Economics Lecturers there is an older list of relevant works.
A practically-oriented overview of assessment concepts can be found in James Atherton's How to Teach (2013).
Evidence and Case Studies
We have dozens of case studies focused on assessment, with topics including peer assessment, role play and in-class exams.
Some papers in the IREE journal address assessment, including:
- Walstad & Bosshart (2020) Using Matrix Puzzles to Assess Student Understanding in Economics
- Tang (2019) Assessment of economic threshold concepts in higher education
- Grogan (2017) Will this be on the test? How exam structure affects perceptions of innovative assignments in a masters of science microeconomics course
There is considerable interest in students' views on the efficacy of assessment and feedback. There are many cohorts of students' views contained in the NSS (National Student Survey) and our own surveys.
Assessment Banks and Resources
- Economics Question Bank: Our password-protected service is open to all UK university staff at no charge. It has hundreds of essay and multi-choice questions as well as problem sets. The questions are categorised by subject and mostly cover core topics and quantitative skills.
- Assessment materials: Links to many external sites
- Maths Resource Index: Quantitative skills assessment resources from several sites
- Writing for Economics: Staff at LSE produced this online tutorial containing example marked essays.
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