A new publication from the HEA, launched today, provides a strong rationale for transforming assessment in higher education.
A Marked Improvement
 contends that assessment practices in many higher education institutions (HEIs) have not kept pace with changes in the context, aims and structure of higher education over recent years. They can no longer, the publication says, do justice to the outcomes we expect from a university education, and satisfy an increasingly diverse student population.
Developed by the HEA with senior colleagues in HEIs, including leading experts in the field, the publication includes an assessment review tool to support institutions in taking stock of current practice, and work towards bringing about strategic change. The tool builds on the findings of ‘Assessment Standards: A Manifesto for Change’ from the Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe) at Oxford Brookes University. Dr Erica Morris, Academic Lead for Assessment at the HEA and one of the authors of the publication, comments:
A Marked Improvement builds on current evidence as well as lessons learned from two decades of support for learning, teaching and assessment in UK HE provided by different organisations and initiatives."
“The publication takes as one of its starting points the view that the change with significant potential to improve student learning is a shift from assessment of learning, to assessment for learning. It is essential that assessment practice reflects the higher education sector of today: by engaging students in real-world activities and assessment of their own and other students’ learning, they are able to develop skills to understand and improve performance. They will take these with them for the rest of their lives.”
Pilot scheme

This November, the HEA will be launching a pilot scheme to help institutions transform their assessment strategy by applying the review tool contained in A Marked Improvement. We will be looking for eight higher education institutions in the UK with the vision and enthusiasm to rejuvenate and refresh their assessment policy and practice. The call for this scheme will be available on 5 November 2012 and the deadline for applications will be 28 January 2013. Further details will be available on the HEA website.