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Reflecting on our journey so far

Posted: Tuesday 2nd October 2018

With AdvanceHE announcing the winning teams in the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) for 2018 I’m reminiscing on the transformation in teaching and assessment strategy that led to the Biomedical Sciences teaching team at Brunel University London receiving one of the first CATE awards in 2016. What we’d done was to completely re-think our assessment strategy on our degree programme and as a large team of academics we developed an Integrated Programme Assessment (IPA) approach. IPA is working excellently well for the staff and students in Biomedical Sciences at Brunel, is spreading throughout Brunel (about half of the programmes here employ some aspect of IPA in their assessments) and is gaining visibility and popularity throughout the country and beyond. 

We held a workshop at Brunel University London on 21st November 2017 which was attended by representativesfrom 20 institutions and since then various members of the team have been visiting colleagues far and wide to share our experiences of integrated and programme level assessment. We’ve had contact with a large number of institutions of all shapes and sizes where we’ve delivered keynote addresses to university and department teaching and learning symposia, run workshops and had focussed meetings with small teaching teams. It’s been great to meet with so many colleagues so committed to the teaching and learning of our students and it’s been exciting to discuss innovative new ways of assessing learning. I’ve certainly learned a lot from talking to folks and am putting into practice things I’ve picked up on my travels.  

As a result of our interactions we’ve developed a resource to help colleagues lead discussions with their colleaguesabout rethinking their assessment strategies. If you’re considering rethinking your assessment strategy the Integrated Programme Assessment Practical Guide provides a framework that you can adopt or adapt whichever parts of it you think are helpful to you in your own individual situation. 

Like our students we’d be delighted to hear whatever feedback you’d be able to give us on our work to help us improve in the future! 

David Tree