How are we assessing our students? An audit of assessment across a whole degree program in a biomedical science

YM Hodgson, C Choate and K Schliephake

School of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University

Assessment influences how students study and learn. Recent changes in higher education; increasing enrolments and the call for accountability of student achievement, has changed the assessment landscape. Educators now need to know exactly what and how students are assessed during degree programs. In 2016 an audit was undertaken of the Learning Outcomes (LOs) and the Assessment regime of 14 core units of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree program. LOs were graded using Blooms taxonomy of learning as less (describing, understanding), moderately (applying, analysing) and more challenging (evaluating, synthesising or creating). Over 14 core units there were 85 LOs; 51% were classified as less, 40% as moderately and 9% as more challenging. There was a gradation in LOs from year 1-3, and a gap in year 2 for challenging LOs. Assessment tasks for the 14 core units were grouped according to assessment type. Exams made up 30% of assessment, in-semester tests 24%, essays/reports 15%, small group activities and continuous in-semester tasks 13%, and practicals, lab journals, log books and group reports 10%. The weighting of some tasks such as group reports increased over the degree program. This study illustrates that scaffolding of assessments for learning and demonstration needs to be looked at across and within the year levels of a degree program. Auditing LOs and assessment allows educators to frame teaching and skills development. This is the first part of a larger research project looking at assessment. In the next phase of the project the student experience of the assessment regime across the whole degree program will be studied.