Jane Southall Hilary Wason


Engaging less academically qualified Higher Education students being taught within a Further Education setting, who have weaker study skills and little experience of independent learning, is challenging. Confidence and motivation levels are often low and they feel overwhelmed.  Effective assessment design is crucial and needs to capitalise on synergies within taught content and reduce the assessment burden in the first semester whilst allowing for early feedback and feedforward.

Synoptic assessment which, in this instance, addresses learning outcomes from two modules, has been piloted and evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative data. Results show a number of benefits; students find it engaging and have developed independent learning skills in the areas of research and self-management; staff have seen an improvement in collaborative working, the use of appropriate sources and writing in a focussed way and have benefitted from a reduced marking load.