Provocations panel: making assessment meaningful part 2

Kathy Charles, Nottingham Trent University

Kathy Charles, Executive Dean of Learning and Teaching, from Nottingham Trent University on the provocations panel discussion on the topic ‘Making Assessment Meaningful’. This recording is from our 2023 MiniBash community event which was hosted in Birmingham, England. Videos are for educational personnel only and require a live educational email to watch. You can read a small snippet of the video transcript below. 


Thank you very much. After my exciting presentation this morning where perhaps, I didn’t keep to my time, you’ll be pleased to know I have a timer now that I’ll be keeping an eye on. 

So this morning, I was asked if I had any slides for this and my heart sank because I thought, oh, I didn’t know I needed any. I thought it was just a bit of chat. So, it was great seeing your slides, Jonathan, but I don’t have any. 

I’m also glad this is a provocation and/or a perspective because what I want to talk about, I don’t think the people in this room will necessarily think is much of a provocation. You’ll probably think it’s a pretty reasonable perspective. 

Before I get going, I just wanted to say, I haven’t had a chance yet to have a chat with Jonathan. So it’s an absolute coincidence that I’m going to be mentioning maps a little bit as well. I just wanted to get that out there. We haven’t colluded in any way. It’s in quite a different context, but I will be talking a bit about maps and it’s great to see Gerby Esther’s work being mentioned, I’m a big fan of him too. 

So, my perspective around assessment, particularly with all the anxiety about AI that I hear about all the time in my role at NTU. We’ve got a lot of anxious colleagues concerned about this. We really need to move away from assessment as being focused entirely on an end point. And I don’t think that’s provocative to anyone in this room. But there is still a tremendous focus amongst people that I talk to at NTU. It’s not just NTU around what we’re going to do for this end thing. This piece of work that the student produces that everything is focused on. 

One of the reasons I think there’s so much anxiety about chat GPT, and other kinds of AI is because it can make an end product very easily. It can write an essay on whatever you ask it to write an essay on. It’s not telling us anything about what actually goes into writing an essay. They’re starting out. They’re not knowing anything. Where do you look for the information? How do you put it together? The re reading of it. Or indeed the panicked writing of it twenty-four hours before it’s due in.  

So, my perspective is, let’s stop looking at the end point. Let’s look at the start point and everything that happens towards the end point. And I want to tell you a couple of stories about my own experience because you’ve heard a lot from me this morning already talking about what we do at NTU and big strategic ideas. I wanted to use a couple of examples to show how I’ve come to really believe what I’m saying about assessment and the importance of the process. 




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