Learning and teaching

Holistic design

Holistic assessment design is understood here as designing assessments on a programme level taking into consideration other courses that compose a programme and addressing key programme learning outcomes. Hence it moves away from a popular modular view toward programme level view. A Holistic design approach is important as:

  • effective assessment design demands consideration of the entire programme, not just one course
  • consistent practice across modules on assessment and feedback provision could enhance the student experience
  • considering assessment design in light of other courses creates better links between the courses and allows for feedback to feed forward

The two major projects that advocated programme level assessment were PASS and TESTA. The resource produced by the PASS team considers practical implication for programme level assessment. Some case studies of how assessment was designed at a programme level as a result of PASS project have been collated by Birkbeck University of London .

  • Map my assessment tool helps you look at the programme level view of assessment, review loading and bunching and eliminate possible problems
  • The University of Nottingham designed an assessment framework that moves away from looking at courses in isolation but considers assessment at the programme level.
  • The University of Leeds encourages 'synoptic assessment', which combines two or more modules of undergraduate study into a single assessment, allowing students to see the links between modules and encouraging 'unmoduling' of assessment design