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How to assess students' learning

Departments at Warwick use a wide variety of assessment tasks to test their students' achievement of learning outcomes.

Exams and assessed work 

The term "examination" can cover a range of time-limited or time-specific, invigilated methods of assessment, including:

  • written exams
  • oral exams (e.g. on language modules)
  • performances
  • practical tests (which might include lab tests, OSCEs in the Medical School)
  • invigilated exams delivered through computers (computer-aided assessment)
  • and many others...

The terms "assessed work" and "assessment" cover methods of assessment which are not invigilated examinations, including:

  • assessed essays
  • dissertations
  • group projects
  • presentations
  • seminar participation [Guidance on assessing seminar participation]
  • lab reports
  • problem sheets
  • portfolios
  • invigilated exams delivered through computers (computer-aided assessment)
  • and many others...
Formative and summative assessment 

Any of these methods can, in principle, be used either for summative assessment (counts towards the module mark), or formative assessment (does not count towards the module mark). In practice invigilated written exams and dissertations are almost always summative, while seminar participation or weekly problem sheets are sometimes solely formative but sometimes contribute to the module mark.

Feedback on exams and assessed work

Feedback to students is crucial in helping them to learn from the assessment process. The Academic Quality and Standards Committee is currently consulting departments on guidance for providing feedback to students on written exams.