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A guide to the TESTA Process

The TESTA Process Step by Step

The TESTA Process

The TESTA Process will take approximately 6 months and should be completed before PPR paperwork deadline.

To begin, the Course Director should contact the TESTA team to arrange an initial meeting. This meeting will cover the four elements of TESTA and provide guidance on the upcoming steps.

Following the initial meeting, the Course Director should create a timeline for completion of the four elements (outlined below) and book all required meetings.

Once all four elements are complete, the TESTA team will compile a full report. This report will be shared with the Course Director and the Course Team. The Course Director should convene a debrief meeting for the Course Team to discuss the report and identify areas for progression.


4 Elements of the TESTA process

Introduction to the Four Elements of TESTA

The TESTA process consists of four elements, each focussing on different aspects of the assessment and feedback process:

  • Course Overview ('Bricks'): The entire Course Team puts together an overview of the full course to obtain a broad picture of the types of assessment and quantity of feedback a student may receive throughout their time in the course.
  • Student Questionnaire: Final year students are surveyed on their experience of feedback and assessment throughout the course.
  • Focus Groups: Members of the TESTA Team meet with a student focus group to discuss their experience of assessment and feedback.
  • Feedback Analysis: The Course Director sends a selection of assessment feedback to the Associate Dean for a qualitative analysis.

These four elements are non-sequential and can run simultaneously. Each element will culminate in a draft report, which will be compiled by the TESTA Team into a final report for use by the School.

It is the responsibility of the Course Director to set each element in motion and to liaise with the TESTA Team regarding any necessary support.

For more information regarding each element, select from the tabs above.

TESTA Timeline

The Course Director should begin the TESTA process approximately 12-18 months before the PPR date.

12 months

  • Course Director meets with TESTA team to initiate the process
  • Course Director books times/rooms for Bricks, Focus groups, and Questionnaires

12-6 months

  • Completion of the four elements of TESTA
  • Sections of the report are drafted and sent to the TESTA team

6 months

  • TESTA team compiles final report and sends to the Course Director
  • The Course Director convenes the debrief meeting

6-2 months

  • The Course Team reflects on the TESTA process and begins to implement changes

2 months

  • The Course Director submits TESTA documentation as part of PPR

All timings are approximate. Course Directors should schedule TESTA during quiet times of semester, away from times of heavy assessment or student placements. In order to have all documentation in place for PPR, it is recommended that the final debrief meeting is scheduled no later than 2 months before the PPR date.

Initial Joint Meeting

To begin the TESTA process, the Course Director will convene a meeting with members of the TESTA team. This meeting may also include any admin support from the School who will be involved in the TESTA process. 

Before the meeting, the Course Director should obtain the following information about the programme:

  • Programme structure (length, core/optional modules, etc...)
  • Assessment patterns (types/frequency of assessment)
  • Number of students (year by year)
  • Number of teaching staff
  • Typical cohort (educational experience, career aspirations, etc…)

At the initial meeting, the TESTA team will outline the TESTA process and answer any questions. Together, the Course Director and TESTA team will construct a timeline for the process and identify potential dates for future meetings. 


  • The Course Overview ('Bricks') element is a collaborative exercise, led by the Course Director, where the Course Team constructs an overview of the programme and its assessments. The exercise involves mapping the path of the typical student through the course.
  • Step One: The Course Director books a meeting where the full Course Team (if possible) is able to attend. This will typically take place outside of semester. Members of the TESTA team will also be present to facilitate.
  • Step Two: In advance of the meeting, the Course Director circulates the 'Bricks' template to members of the Course Team. Each Brick represents a module, and should be filled in by the appropriate member of staff.  (NOTE: Feel free to modify the 'Bricks' template to suit your programme. It may also be helpful to use different colours of paper/ink to differentiate types of module/assessment.)
  • Step Three: At the meeting, members of the course team arrange the 'Bricks' on the wall to create a visual overview of the course. This representation will allow the Course Team to chart assessment patterns over their course, noting any unusual concentrations of assessment, or the prevalence of certain types over others.
  • Step Four: After the meeting, the Course Director drafts a brief report (one A4 page or less) of the findings from the meeting. This may include examples of good practice, as well as provisional suggestions for development.

Student Questionnaire

The Student Assessment Experience Questionnaire is a 28-question survey administered to all final year students within the programme by Jisc Online Surveys (formerly BOS).

  • Step One: The Course Director liaises with the TESTA team to receive a link to the online survey.
  • Step Two: The Course Director circulates the link to the online survey to final year students and encourages them to complete the questionnaire.
  • Once a sufficient number of responses have been received, the survey administrator will compile the data and create a draft report.

In order to obtain meaningful results, at least 25-50 students must complete the survey. In the case of programmes, it may be possible to include students from earlier years, or to amalgamate multiple programme streams. This can be discussed with the TESTA team at the initial meeting. 

Focus Group

The TESTA focus group consists of a one-hour meeting between a group of 5-8 students from the school and members of the TESTA team, to discuss the student experience of assessment and feedback. In the case of large programmes, or multiple programme streams, several focus groups may be organised. 

  • Step One: The Course Director selects 5-8 students from the program. (NOTE: These students can include the School president, etc., but should represent as wide a range as possible.)
  • Step Two: The Course Director arranges a meeting for the focus group and members of the TESTA team.
  • The TESTA team will conduct the focus group and compile the draft report.

The focus group will be audio-recorded, and transcribed by an external organisation. The TESTA report will outline all major topics discussed, and include anonymous quotations from students. 

Feedback Analysis

This section of the TESTA process, developed at the University of Dundee, consists of a qualitative analysis of feedback, performed by an Associate Dean (typically L&T, or QA).

  • Step One: The Course Director collects a sample of student assessment feedback. This should include approximately 15 samples per year, across a range of modules and assessments. 
  • The TESTA team nominates an Associate Dean to perform qualitative analysis of the feedback.
  • Step Two: The Course Director sends the feedback selection to the Associate Dean.
  • The Associate Dean performs a qualitative assessment of the feedback and drafts the assessment analysis section of the report.

Debrief Meeting

  • Once the four elements have been completed, the Course Director should convene a meeting with the Course Team and the TESTA team. In advance of the meeting, the TESTA team will provide the Course Director with a copy of the report, which the Course Director should circulate to the Course Team. The report will identify areas of good practice, as well as suggestions for development.
  • At the meeting, the Course Team will reflect on the areas outlined in the report and discuss the progression of the course.