Tom O'Mahony


This article documents the time taken to assess two different types of final year engineering courses – a more traditional course in which the purpose of assessment is mostly to measure performance, and a second, that uses a multi-stage assessment process to implement an assessment for learning perspective. The research question is to determine what impact these different assessment models have on instructor workload (as measured by time). A quantitative research methodology was adopted. The time taken to assess both courses was carefully recorded during one semester. The main finding was that the multi-stage assignment with feedback originating from the instructor, increased the instructor’s assessment workload by 23% and also resulted in a temporal shift in that workload. The data collected was confined to two courses and this may limit the generalisability of these findings. However, the data is consistent with and supports recent calls to reconceptualise feedback in higher education.