Diversifying Assessment at the University of Cambridge
Rensa Gaunt, Esme Cavendish & Dr Ruth Walker, 2021
This report summarises the findings from a survey co-designed by Cambridge SU and the Cambridge Centre of Teaching and Learning (CCTL), which was disseminated to all students across the University in February-March 2021. It received a total of 475 respondents and included a range of quantitative and qualitative questions/responses. The focus of the survey was on gauging student perspectives about exams and assessment, collecting information about students’ experiences of the changes to assessment that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the UK from March 2020 onwards, and gathering student insights about what diversified assessment practices might look like in their disciplines and courses. The findings of the survey contain substantial evidence of students’ keen interest in enhancing assessment practices, in particular their appetite for non-exam assessment opportunities. The qualitative data in particular will be useful to justify and support the diversification of assessment at the University of Cambridge, and the report concludes with a range of recommendations that arise from the data. The key recommendation is that Faculties and Departments should be encouraged or otherwise incentivised to undertake a more focused investigation of their assessment practices across their whole course/Tripos, to ensure that the pattern of assessment includes ‘authentic’ and discipline-specific experiences, is inclusive, and is well structured with clear guidance and information about expectations and marking practices.