Phil Race

Assessment, learning and teaching in higher education

Royal Veterinary College: 16th December

Great working with you all today. Here are the  main slides.  RVC keynote (12)  RVC workshop (8) Please use the ‘search’ function at the rhs of the site to find ‘Joughin’ for the booklet on oral assessment, and NUS for the benchmarking tool. Wishing you all the best for the Festive Season, and hoping to return to RVC one day.

Written by Phil

16 December, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Making small-group teaching work

Small-group learning is really important for students, but often gets eclipsed in the literature by the more ‘public’ aspect of large-group lectures. I’ve written lots about both, in the ‘Lecturer’s Toolkit’ (2006 and 2015) and in ‘Making Learning Happen’ (2014). I often use Chapter 4 of the Toolkit as a handout in my workshops on small-group learning, and this particular chapter remains largely unchanged in the 2015 edition, so I am putting the Chapter up as a download here Making small-group teaching work (15), not least as a response to Twitter requests for help regarding small-group teaching. I hope you find it useful.

Written by Phil

14 December, 2014 at 11:39 am

University of Durham: 10th December

Here are the main slides I used in our two workshops today, and the checklist for students to indicate how they use learning outcomes.  Learning outcomes Durham (19) Towards assessment as learning (19) Learning outcomes checklist (14) You were a great group to work with, thanks for making me so welcome. Thanks specially to Sam for picking me up and delivering me back to Durham station – where I walked straight onto the train bearing Sally back from London.

Written by Phil

10 December, 2014 at 7:54 pm

University of Northumbria 9th December

Great working with you today. Here are the main slides I used Northumbria slides (16) and Chapter 3 from ‘How to get a good degree’ from which the last half of the session was adapted building on feedback handout (14). Thanks for all the Tweets. The photo shows the astrologically-selected winner of the book, and another photo could be thought to be one theme of the session. Good luck with your studies.


Written by Phil

9 December, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Lecturer’s Toolkit 2015 4th edition now out

This is much revised and expanded compared to the 2007 version, and now contains the essay marking exercise I often use, and the ‘Statements’ exercise.  The following link takes you to a page where the main contents are spelled out in some detail.

toolkit 4th editionChapter 1:      How students really learn

Chapter 2:      Designing assessment and feedback to enhance learning

Chapter 3:      Lectures in the digital age

Chapter 4:      Making small-group teaching work

Chapter 5:      Resource-based learning in the digital age

Chapter 6:      Looking after yourself

Chapter 7:      Challenges and Reflection


Written by Phil

5 December, 2014 at 8:07 am

NUIG: Nursing and Midwifery: 4th December

Great day at Galway working with staff on ‘Making Directed Learning Happen’ Thanks for lots of Tweets. Main slides here:  NUIG (22). Now at Maldron Airport Hotel in Dublin, awaiting tomorrow’s flight to Newcastle. By popular request, I’ve tonight written up the exercise I mentioned – but which we didn’t do – involving peer assessing sketches of cats peer assessing cats (28). This is an amusing and effective introduction to peer-assessment for students.

I’ve also now added Sally’s ‘Egg Game’ – a great fun introduction to self and peer assessment. Sally's egg game (16)

Written by Phil

4 December, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Sally’s new book now out

Sally’s new book was launched at the SEDA Conference earlier this month.  (Brown, S. (2015) Learning, teaching and assessment in higher education: global perspectives, London: Palgrave-MacMillan). At the launch, she gave out a handout of some snippets on assessment and feedback, which you can download here: Extract from book (45). The photo shows her holding the book, before cutting the cake of the book at the conference. Many thanks to Palgrave for the champagne reception. (Sometimes it’s good to eat one’s words!).photo (8) (1) - Copy

Written by Phil

24 November, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Bournemouth University: November 19th and 20th

Here are the main slides I used. The two groups were very different on the 19th and 20th, and we got through quite a lot more on the latter. The slides here are composite, and include slides that one group saw and the other didn’t. As I explained, I ran the feedback workshop in a different order on the two days, and present the slides as used on the 20th, to demonstrate to participants present on the 19th that I wasn’t ‘leading the witnesses’.

For the assessment workshop, I’ve also inserted the ‘long’ version of the discussion on validity, reliability, etc, which you can use with the sheet I issued to self-rate a particular assessment of your own (I’ve also described how to do this in the 2nd and 3rd editions of ‘Making Learning Happen’). I’ve also posted the HEA 2012 slides, which I whizzed through on the final afternoon, but now you can use them to think about what we need to do to make assessment a lot better. I particularly enjoyed working with you on the 20th. Bournemouth feedback (37), Towards assessment as learning (46), HEA 2012 slides (22).

Written by Phil

20 November, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Post-Constructive Alignment?

I’ve been thinking recently that ‘constructive alignment’ is only part of the story – even though it is a very sensible part. Here are some thoughts about a bigger picture. Post-Constructive Alignment? (91). (Written at Newcastle Airport on the way to Southampton and Bournemouth).

Written by Phil

18 November, 2014 at 2:22 pm

SEDA Museum of Curiosities

At the SEDA Conference last week in Nottingham, many delegates were astonished at the Museum presentation prepared by Peter Hartley and myself. The slides are downloadable here, including the Underhand Projector. Seda Museum slides (39). If you find these slides amusing, please Tweet the link! Thanks Peter for the idea.

Written by Phil

15 November, 2014 at 10:30 am

University of York: 12th November

Good to be back at York University after a few years. Here are the slides I used this morning in our workshop of Assessment, to which I’ve added the short input I made to the session on writing teaching portfolios in the afternoon. York (27) Please look at the post below this one to download my checklists in planning and reflecting on your teaching, and a critical comparison for eleven assessment methods. Search the website for ‘Ferrell’ if you want to download the excellent JISC publication on the electronic management of assessment (EMA) by Gill Ferrell.

Written by Phil

12 November, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Bits of new books: 6th November

Here are downloads of two bits from my forthcoming and recent books.

‘Planning and reflecting on your teaching’ comprises two quite detailed tables, and will be included in the 4th edition of ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit’ to be published in early 2015. Planning and reflecting on your teaching (262)

By popular request the ‘Critical Comparison of eleven assessment types’ is a table adapted from Chapter 4 of the 3rd edition of ‘Making Learning Happen’ which was published by Sage in May this year. Critical comparison of assessment types (272). You might notice that ‘essays’ fare rather badly, especially under the ‘whodunit’ issue.

I hope you find these downloads useful – if so, please re-tweet the link!

Written by Phil

6 November, 2014 at 10:24 am

Sheffield Hallam University: 5th November

Here are the main slides we used in our afternoon together SHU (34). You were great to work with, and I wish you well in implementing some of these ideas as you update curriculum for re-validation. I will shortly be putting a couple of further bits of my work on assessment up on this site, and these will appear in the next post – they may indeed be useful to you too.

Written by Phil

5 November, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Garda College, Templemore: 30-31 October

Here are the main slides we used (password protected) over the two days on assessment, training and feedback Garda College (45). Here also (for anyone to download) is the pdf of my book on ‘Workshops that Work’ from the 1990s – some bits still useful today Workshops that Work (2753). You were a great group to work with, and I wish you well in your busy roles training and assessing in the coming months. I look forward to receiving your assignments on 11th December – the briefings are all in the slides.

Written by Phil

31 October, 2014 at 4:22 pm

New College Stamford 24th October

Here are the main slides I used in our workshops on feedback, minus the pictures and video links. Great working with you all, and thanks for the many Tweets. New College Stamford (47) All best wishes putting what you can into practice for your students, in the context of often unhelpful and unwise procedures from your accrediting University and from BTEC!


Written by Phil

24 October, 2014 at 6:10 pm

NUS Assessment and Feedback Benchmarking Tool

To increase student satisfaction regarding assessment and feedback, the NUS’s own ‘Benchmarking Tool’ is a really good agenda for improvement of our provision NUS Assessment and Feedback Benchmarking Tool (147) here, or available from the NUS website.

Written by Phil

2 October, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Derby College: 26th September

Here are the main slides from our session this morning. Derby College: 26th September (87) Many thanks to the participant who received £1 for spotting my typo, which I’ve now corrected. (I have difficulty seeing my own typos!). I’ll be happy to return to go into more detail about ways of getting assessment more ‘fit for purpose’ and designing criteria – the status quo of assessment is not an option across the country at present. Great to be in your historic (14)

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26 September, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Electronic Management of Assessment: Dr Gill Ferrell

JISC published last month a brilliant report by Dr Gill Ferrell on the electronic management of assessment. Food for thought for all looking to modernize assessment and feedback in the digital age. The report should download from the following link:

Written by Phil

25 September, 2014 at 7:55 pm

UCLan, 24th September

Here are the slides for my 3rd (and final)  workshop on ‘Making Foundation Learning Happen’ at UCLan on 24th September. UCLan 3 w (65). Thanks to participants for a lovely mixture of experience, open-ness, wisdom and humour at this session – Foundation learners will be safe in your hands. Thanks also to the Salvation Army, Preston who made us most welcome for the day – ‘may that peace which passeth understanding remain with us all’.

Written by Phil

24 September, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Critical incident accounts

The following piece on planning and assessing critical incident accounts will be in the 2015 4th edition of ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit’, but I thought it may be useful now too (it wasn’t in the 3rd edition). Critical incident accounts (98)

Written by Phil

19 September, 2014 at 10:20 am