Programmatic Approaches to Assessment and Feedback in Education

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
Mary Immaculate College

Primary Contact
Dr. Laura Costelloe

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


This initiative seeks to address some of the challenges associated with assessment overload and reliance on traditional modes of assessment through the piloting, development and evaluation of programmatic assessment strategies, which are grounded in disciplinary contexts and aligned to institutional needs.

During the COVID-19 crisis many student surveys have highlighted the difficulties experienced regarding assessment – in particular workload. However, students also identified a number of benefits, for example during the transition, there was widespread adoption of alternative modes of assessment and continuous assessment, which students found useful when deadlines are staggered (USI, 2020).

There is considerable evidence in the literature which points to the challenges relating to the excessive number of assessment tasks for students and the absence of programmatic approaches to assessment, which enable students to apply concepts and theories across modules within their programme of study and encourage programme teams to broaden the types of assessment (e.g. Harland et al. 2015; O’Neill 2019; Price et al. 2011). Working in collaboration, LEAD, faculty members and student advocates will seek to explore and apply a contextualised model for mapping assessment practices within a programme and identifying opportunities for more integrated and holistic assessment practices and the adoption of a variety of modes of assessment across a programme. The initiative will evaluate the model in terms of how it can enhance the learning experience of students and the teaching experience of staff in HE.