Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Assessment Issues: A Case Study from Roehampton Institute London
Originator Vince Gardiner1 and Vaneeta D'Andrea2
Department 1School of Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Trueman Building, 15-21 Webster Street, Liverpool, L3 2ET, UK
2University of Surrey Institute Roehampton, Southlands College, Wimbledon Parkside, London, SW19 5NN, UK
Tel. 1+44 (0)151 231 4043
2+44 (0)181 392 3270

The geography and environmental studies team identified three first year courses in elements of basic science with unacceptably high failure rates. After considering students' opinions and those of external examiners, the problem still remained. The department invited the Educational Development Office (EDO) to analyse the situation and suggest a way forward.

The EDO organised a meeting of all relevant staff. Short and long term plans were decided as the means to address the problem.

Short term plans included:

Long term plans included:

The EDO also supported the staff team by:

  1. organising a workshop on assessment strategies run by an outside expert on assessment in higher education;
  2. supplying examples of student evaluation forms;
  3. providing information on more active teaching and learning strategies;
  4. conducting and analysing the student focus group evaluations.

The outcomes:

The short term plans were introduced in the following year and produced a significant improvement in student performance in these modules, although pass rates were still below average for the programmes. The long term plans were considered as part of programme revalidation debates and most were implemented as part of the revalidation proposals. Formal tutorial provision was introduced, as part of an accompanying study skills module. Most importantly, the modules were made optional for most students and the mode of assessment was changed to incorporate more course work rather than a final examination. Pass rates for the courses increased to levels similar to other modules in the programmes. Because of pressure on staff time, some of the long term plans, including the development of self-learning booklets, have still to be introduced.


Group evaluations
Group work

This is one of the case studies which appears in the GDN Guide "Teaching and Learning Issues and Managing Educational Change in Geography"

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Page created 2 October 1999
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