Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) is a process which analyses the student experience of assessment and feedback and uses that information to guide curriculum review and development.
At Dundee, TESTA is a mandatory part of the Periodic Programme Review (PPR). Crucially, however, TESTA is an enhancement exercise, not an external evaluation. The report produced by TESTA is passed directly from the TESTA Team to the Course Director and does not have to be shared with anyone outside the course. TESTA’s primary objective is to allow the Course Team to reflect on their assessment and feedback processes and to engage with student experiences in order to identify areas of good practice and opportunities for further development.
Assessment and Feedback is an area of the student experience that consistently features in the NSS, both at Dundee and across the UK as a whole. Students can find assessment guidelines confusing, and are often unsure how to implement the feedback they receive.
TESTA is an enhancement exercise that allows course teams to perform an internal audit of their assessment and feedback processes. During the process, the Course Team will have the opportunity to:
In 2009, a team at the University of Winchester obtained an Higher Education Academy grant to fund a three-year pilot project looking at the student experience of assessment and feedback. Significantly, they chose to study assessment at a programme-level, rather than examining individual modules, in order to gain a more comprehensive overview of assessment and feedback across a student’s degree.
TESTA has been running at Dundee since 2010, originally under the auspices of Quality and Academic Standards. In 2019, TESTA was made a mandatory element of the Periodic Program Review (PPR) process and is now managed by the Academic Skills Centre.
The TESTA Team consists of:
TESTA Officer: Dr Rachel Horrocks-Birss (Academic Skills Centre)
TESTA Support: Monica Matthews (Academic Skills Centre)
Honorary Investigator: Professor David Coates (School of Life Sciences)
Academic Lead: Neil Taylor (School of Education & Social Work)
TESTA Statistician: Dr David Booth (School of Life Sciences)
Head of ASC: Dr Lorraine Anderson (Academic Skills Centre)
TESTA Adviser: Lynn Boyle (School of Education & Social Work)
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash
TESTA is run internally by Course Directors within each School. Although TESTA forms part of the Periodic Program Review (PPR), it functions primarily as an opportunity for each School to perform a self-evaluation of their feedback and assessment practices.
Course Directors should involve the full Course Team, if feasible. All members of the Course Team should be present in the Course Overview ('Bricks') meeting, and the final TESTA report should be shared and discussed with the full team.
Throughout the process, Course Directors will be supported by the Academic Skills Centre TESTA team, available at TESTA@dundee.ac.uk.
TESTA at Dundee is supported by colleagues from across the University, including the School of Life Sciences and the Associate Deans.