Much has been written about how assessment at undergraduate level impacts on student learning (Brown, 1999; Brown & Glasner, 1999; Brown & Knight, 1994; Elton, 2003; Gibbs, 2006; Joughin & Macdonald, 2004; Race, 2001) but there is much less discussion of how this is undertaken at Masters level. Our bid outlines a student-centred means of developing a substantial resource detailing Masters level assessment approaches with data from four continents. Overviews of Masters level assessment practice in the UK and internationally suggest a heavy preponderance of assessment by very traditional methods (Ridley, 2004).
Graham Gibbs says of this bid:
"Masters courses are proliferating and are adopting, sometimes uncritically, conventional undergraduate academic approaches to assessment. The assessment of Masters courses is an under-researched area and there is plenty of scope to make worthwhile contributions. A focus on authentic assessment that is linked to professional practice would be particularly useful.
Our initial research has uncovered examples of innovation which resonate more appropriately with problem-based and student-centred approaches, including assessed structured writing and review techniques (Keller & Kros, 2000), assessed creative writing (Wisker, in Knight 1997), progress tests (McHarg et al, 2005), collaborative projects, exhibitions, artefacts, productions, live events and popular as well as scholarly publications (Brown and Knight 1994).
At Leeds Met and elsewhere, a current key priority is exploring how best to teach and assess Masters students. We are rethinking our whole approach, and are moving towards offering fewer named Masters routes and more personalised programmes, incorporating generic research skills development and master-classes. In co-organising with the University of Leeds a series of collaborative workshops in 2007-9 on M-level teaching and learning, we have identified this area as under-researched (McEwen et al, 2008), as earlier identified by Peter Knight (Knight, 1997 op cit).
To complement the Academy’s launch of the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), we aim to identify diverse good practice in M-level provision and to collate resources for dissemination to a much wider audience internationally. We have sought ethical approval for this research through Leeds Met systems.
Of this bid Royce Sadler said:
“[It] has the potential to clarify and make substantive progress on: the character of Masters-level learning as a genre; what Masters qualifications stand for; and how achievement in them should be assessed.”
Gordon Joughin acknowledging Boud, 2009 said:
"[It] provides a unique and important opportunity to reconceptualise the assessment of Masters students based on emerging concepts and practices of assessment that promote learning in and beyond courses which prepare students for the world of practice."