Designing Effective Assessment
Overloading students can inhibit learning. One common recommendation is that students should spend about 1 hour of learning/week for each credit point of a course. This means that for a 10 CP course students should spend 10-12 hours/week studying; and if a student is taking four x 10CP courses in a semester, this equates to a minimum of a 40 hour week. This includes the class time spent in lectures, tutorials and labs/workshops; preparation and reading time for in class activities; any additional time needed to seek assistance or resources and the assessment. While more time on task is a major contributor to learning, it can shift to overload and must be carefully considered.
The complexity and/or introduction of an unfamiliar form of assessment must also be considered. Students respond and perform better to complex and different forms of assessment if these are introduced gently and progressively to tasks that are increasingly complex and demanding.
Overloading students also occurs (often quite inadvertently) when there is little communication or co-ordination between the courses students is enrolled in. Students under increasing pressure will often adopt a surface or strategic approach to their learning.
When considering manageability, it is worth asking:
How long is it anticipated the assessment task will take to complete?
How much time will most students have available for assessment?
Manageable assessment balances the anticipated time an assessment task will take to complete with the time students have available; and considers other concurrent assessments due.