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Semi-automated assessment and workload expectation mapping

Melinda Lewis, Mary Jane Mahony, Ann Poulos
University of Sydney

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney has conducted a mapping project to develop a deeper understanding of assessment factors which potentially impact on students’ perception of workload. Electronic capture of annual faculty Assessment Program Meeting (APM) data, as well as lecturer’s perceptions on preparation time, generated semi-automated assessment and workload expectation maps.

Data were imported into Excel spreadsheets. The initial data tables provided a preliminary picture of assessment and workload expectations. Charts of predicted student workload directly related to assessment tasks were produced. The assessment profile across a unit of study, a semester, a year and a program made visible:

  • exam clusters
  • several due dates for assignments coinciding
  • where preparation time identified by lecturers was short and intense, or on-going and overlapping

Embracing informatics approaches to semi-automate assessment mapping can aid individual unit of study coordinators’ efforts to manage the whole of student experience with regard to assessment times and workload. Profile construction aids identification of over redundancy of assessment method, gaps in student development opportunities, and workload periods which may lead students to surface rather than deep learning strategies.

Keywords: semi-automated assessment, higher education, workload, health sciences