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Assessments for the Future

18 Sep 2023

Assessment and Feedback is one of our key operational and strategic priorities - this was a central message in our recent Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission

Gabrielle Finn

Assessment is integral to the student journey, but our NSS and other student feedback tell us we have work to do – so Assessment and Feedback is one of our key operational and strategic priorities, until it’s fixed. This was a central message in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) submission as we recognise its importance within a student’s university experience.

In 2021, we established our Assessment for the Future project and the team have been piloting a secure online assessment for learning platform, known as Cadmus, which is accessed through Blackboard. Cadmus supports students and academics throughout the whole assessment cycle from assessment design through to release of grades and feedback, as well as providing insights into student engagement with an assignment over time. It supports students as they develop academic skills and provides detail where there is a concern about academic integrity

With Cadmus there is no change for the marker - this is still done via Turnitin Feedback Studio in the same way as for a standard Turnitin assignment.

In total, 65 course units across the University have taken part in the pilot between 2021-2023 and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. All our academic colleagues using Cadmus wanted to continue using the system after the pilot and 97% gave a positive experience score. Those using the Cadmus platform say it has:

  • Addressed assurance of academic integrity in an online environment
  • Improved student experience
  • Supported student success and retention
  • Improved equality of opportunity for diverse student cohorts (ethnicity and disability)

Professor Gabrielle Finn, Assessment for the Future project sponsor and Vice Dean for Teaching, Learning and Students in the Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, comments:

"I highly recommend Cadmus; it has supported our accelerated transition to blended and online learning, ensuring the authenticity and integrity of online assessments. Students learn meaningfully during the assessment process because the Cadmus platform provides an educative and supportive workspace that drives successful outcomes.

Importantly, Cadmus supports our efforts to ensure assessments are inclusive and in our ongoing work to tackle differential attainment across our diverse student cohorts."

Similarly, 88.96% of the 6,170 students who have used Cadmus reported a positive experience. This is a 17.6% increase on the student experience score pre-Cadmus, as measured against the National Student Survey Results, 2021.

One student told us: "I loved the layout and formatting of Cadmus, and it was so helpful having all the instructions separated out into a step-by-step checklist. This made the workload so much more manageable, and I knew exactly what I had to do to complete it.”

We have 104 units across all three faculties signed up to use Cadmus for the 2023/24 academic year.

  • If you would like to know more about Cadmus, please contact Sarah Williams, Assessment for the Future Project Manager by e-mail: