Conceptions of assessment in students and staff teaching biomedical sciences: a pilot study

Yvonne Hodgson, Loretta Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Higher education assessment policies aim to please all, creating confusion for staff and students. This study reports on staff and student conceptions of assessment and the students’ experience of the assessment regime over their Biomedical Science degree. There was a general alignment of staff and students views of assessment for 19 of 27 items on the ‘Conceptions of Assessment’ questionnaire (CoA). Areas of discrepancy were identified in: (i) the use of assessment as institutional quality, students identified this as more important than staff, and (ii) assessment is used for modifying teaching practices, students did not recognise this as an important role. Students experience of the assessment regime over their degree revealed : (i) the excessive quantity of assessment without a clear delineation between formative and summative assessment, (ii) the importance of exams in learning, (iii) dissatisfaction with feedback timing, quality and quantity and (iv) self-reported high use of feedback received. This retrospective study highlights the need for an assessment dialogue between staff and students to reduce student mistrust over assessment and to improve staff–student relationships. Identifying the gap in assessment conceptions may assist staff in understanding student’s behaviour towards their grades, feed- back and the competitive student environment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019


  • Assessment
  • biomedical science
  • conceptions
  • feedback
  • higher education

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