Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Continuous Assessment of Geography Classes Taught in Computer Laboratories
Originator Dr G.E. Jones
Department Department of Geography, University of Strathclyde, Hills Building, 50 Richmond Street, Glasgow, G1 1XN
Tel. +44 (0)141 552 4400 x3794
Fax. +44 (0)141 552 7857

A class in computer applications for geographers had been taught and examined in a more traditional way, using an end-of-semester two hour examination. For a number of reasons this proved unsuitable for the course, and availability of a large computer laboratory and the necessary Windows software made possible a redesign of the course.

Under the new means of assessment, students were required to submit four projects based entirely on computer skills (graphical presentation, spreadsheets, simple Geographical Information Systems and advanced word processing). Each project was worth 20 marks, giving a class maximum of 80. This maximum mark was fixed after some experimentation with various scaling mechanisms. The purpose was to ensure that a total mark obtained from this class did not overweight the curriculum aggregate mark. Most conventionally marked examinations rarely produce marks over 75%. Thus a maximum possible mark of 80 for the computer class was not considered out-of-line with other classes.

A full explanation of the marking scheme is given to the students at the start of the class. This information is provided in both written and oral form. Student satisfaction with the class has been assessed by questionnaires and, apart from some discontent with a maximum mark of 80, the response has been good.


Computer skills
Graphical presentation

This abstract has been reproduced with the kind permission of the ASSHE Project, which was undertaken under the auspices of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals and with the financial support of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.

Hounsell, D., McCulloch, M. and Scott, M. (Editors) The ASSHE Inventory: Changing Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education, (The University of Edinburgh & Napier University), p. 78
Database entry ref. 268

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