1st Edition

Excellence in University Assessment Learning from award-winning practice

By David Carless Copyright 2015
    282 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    282 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Assessment in higher education is an area of intense current interest, not least due to its central role in student learning processes. Excellence in University Assessment is a pioneering text which contributes to the theory and practice of assessment through detailed discussion and analysis of award-winning teaching across multiple disciplines. It provides inspiration and strategies for higher education practitioners to improve their understanding and practice of assessment.

    The book uses an innovative model of learning-oriented assessment to analyze the practice of university teachers who have been recipients of teaching awards for excellence. It critically scrutinizes their methods in context in order to develop key insights into effective teaching, learning and assessment processes. Pivotal topics include:

    • Competing priorities in assessment and ways of tackling them;
    • The nature of quality assessment task design;
    • The student experience of assessment;
    • Promoting student engagement with feedback.


    An indispensable contribution to assessment in higher education, Excellence in University Assessment is a valuable guide for university leaders, middle managers, staff developers, teachers and researchers interested in the crucial topic of assessment.

    Section A: Learning and Assessment

    Introduction: Setting the scene

    Chapter 1: Competing priorities in assessment

    Chapter 2: Researching learning-oriented assessment


    Section B: Designing and implementing assessment tasks

    Chapter 3: Promoting student engagement with assessment tasks

    Chapter 4: Assessment task design in History

    Chapter 5: Learning-oriented assessment in Law

    Chapter 6: Group assessment and participation in Geology and Business


    Section C: Engaging with quality criteria

    Chapter 7: Promoting student engagement with quality

    Chapter 8: Engaging with criteria in History and Geology

    Chapter 9: Critical reviews in Architecture


    Section D: Reconceptualising feedback and ways forward

    Chapter 10: Promoting student engagement with feedback

    Chapter 11: Feedback processes in the cases

    Chapter 12: Conclusions and ways forward for learning-oriented assessment



    Author Index

    Subject Index


    David Carless is Professor of Educational Assessment and Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong.

    "Overall, the book theoretically contributes to our understanding of the learning aspects of assessment that help resolve competing priorities of assessment. The discussion of learning-oriented assessment in contexts and from student and teacher perspectives as well as its presentation in a manner of ‘‘coherent scholarship’’ (Carless 2015) enhances the quality of the book...Carless’s book definitely encourages academies in higher education that believe in the role of assessment in supporting learning but do not know how to realize such a role for assessment in classrooms."- Ying Zhan, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Higher Education

    "This book is an authoritative voice on assessment. David Carless explores all aspects of assessment, from specific design methods to reduce the likelihood of plagiarism to an exploration of the psychological impact of marks on students' sense of self. This is an interesting book, with one of its significant strengths being the wide reference to a plethora of different research" - Sally Burr, University of Sussex, Educational Developments

    "It is important to have a high-profile book on assessment, as assessment has been relatively overlooked in comparison to learning and teaching. This book emphasizes the importance of integrating assessment as a central element within learning and teaching." - Maddalena Taras, University of Sunderland, London Review of Education