Assessment and feedback

The redesign of teaching and learning can only be successful if the accompanying assessment is also (re-)designed, as students’ expectations about the content, type and level of difficulty of the assessment greatly influence their ways of studying.

For instance, when intercultural competences and transferable skills are part of the teaching, but not of the assessment, students tend to pay attention and direct their energy accordingly. Also, a multiple-choice examination at the end of the course induces different study behaviour than an essay with formative feedback halfway during the course.


  • Fair and transparent assessment for all learning;
  • Alignment of assessment with teaching and learning activities;
  • Enhanced student experience through intermediate feedback on progress of learning by using intermediate assessment results to improve students’ learning processes.

What are the key aspects?

Several of the objectives describe learning outcomes for students that are challenging to assess. How can we determine if students have (developed) an inquisitive mindset, digital literacies and transferable skills? And if they are (as a result of the educational programme) how do we know they  are employable and have cultural sensitivity? As an additional challenge, how can we (re-)design the assessment in such a way, that it informs both teachers and students about students’ learning processes during a course or programme, and not just at the end?

Assessing such ‘complex skills’, competences and/or attitudes productively can be done by developing a so-called assessment programme: a combination of different types of assessments, assessors, and stakes that matches the specifics of the associated educational programme. An assessment programme typically contains:

  • Diversity in type of assessment: for instance, by including assessments that are suitable for determining students’ knowledge, as well as assessments that are more suitable for determining students’ skills in an authentic setting, such as a role play;
  • Diversity in assessors or sources of assessment: besides lecturers also for instance (external) experts; fellow students (peers) can assess students’ learning and provide feedback on how to improve. Peer feedback has been shown to be a potentially powerful learning tool and students can be trained to give each other high quality feedback;
  • Different low-stake assessments (in the sense that each individual assessment has little impact on certification): low-stake assessments can provide students with formative feedback, so that students can learn from the assessments. Ultimately,  several low-stake assessments can add up to a high-stake assessment that has important consequences, such as obtaining a degree;
  • Clear criteria and standards for each individual assessment, that each assessor uses to provide students with feedback and that students can use to monitor their own performance and progress.

In order for such an assessment programme to be effective, it needs 1) to be aligned with the learning objectives and learning activities, 2) to monitor students’ study progress and 3) to provide students and teachers with feedback about this progress while there is still time to make adjustments to teaching and learning.

What are important questions?

Further reading

  • McGoey, K. E., Cowan, R. J., Rumrill, P. P., & LaVogue, C. (2010). Understanding the psychometric properties of reliability and validity in assessment. Work, 36(1), 105-111. doi:10.3233/WOR-2010-1012
  • Sluijsmans, D. M. A., Brand-Gruwel, S., & Van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2002). Peer assessment training in teacher education: Effects on performance and perceptions. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(5), 443-454. doi:10.1080/0260293022000009311
  • van der Vleuten, C. P. M., Schuwirth, L. W. T., Driessen, E. W., Dijkstra, J., Tigelaar, D., Baartman, L. K. J., & van Tartwijk, J. (2012). A model for programmatic assessment fit for purpose. Medical Teacher, 34(3), 205-214. doi:10.3109/0142159x.2012.652239
  • Van Popta, E., Kral, M., Camp, G., Martens, R. L., & Simons, P. R. J. (2017). Exploring the value of peer feedback in online learning for the provider. Educational Research Review, 20, 24-34. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2016.10.003

Teaching example

Creative forms of assessment

In the Honours Class taught by Dr. Chris de Kruif (HA/FdR), among others, students tackle the case of gas extraction in Groningen and the theme of trust in government. In the course, students are free to choose the form of assessment, as long as it contributes to their understanding of the theme and reflected the application of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. At two moments during the course, students present their assessment choice and receive feedback. In the past, students choose a poem and a documentary, among others. A rubric supports assessors to evaluate these different forms transparently.

Peer assessment (to follow)

Voortgangstoets LUMC (to follow)

De toetsing in de master GNK (to follow)