Applications for the National Seminar Series 2016-2017 are now closed. Click here to view seminars for the current series.

We are  pleased to announce that applications are now open for this year’s  National Seminar Series (2016/2017). The National Seminar series gives many of those working in higher education the opportunity to connect with colleagues throughout the sector and to focus on shared interests in both the research and practice of teaching and learning enhancement. The series also creates opportunities to hear from national and international experts in different areas of teaching and learning. Details from previous NSS seminars (2013-2016) are available on the National Forum website, including details on how to follow up with organisers, links to seminar recordings and other available resources.

This year‚ the seminar series will focus on the National Forum’s current enhancement theme which is: Assessment of, for and as learning and will encourage a debate on the challenges, tensions, balances in these purposes of assessment. It is anticipated that the National Seminar Series 2016/2017 will include up to 30 seminars.  Funded seminars will reflect the broad range of issues associated with assessment for, of and as learning. In the case of multiple submissions that deal with similar topics, we will fund the submission that best meets the application criteria. We look forward to seminars that give those involved in higher education the space and opportunity to continue to meet, discuss, and develop this theme with colleagues across the country. Note that submissions that meet the application criteria identified below will be considered for funding. Click here for more information.


To submit an application for the 2016/2017 national seminar series, click on the following link: National Seminar Series 2016/2017 Application Form

The form is also available as a word document. If you are submitting your application as a word document please email it to

Microsoft Word version of the National Seminar Series Application Form

Please direct any queries to with the subject line, National Seminar Series.

Key Dates

Thursday 6th October  Online applications due

Thursday 20th October   Applicants will be informed if their application is successful

TBC: Formal launch event for the National Seminar Series 2016/2017

November 1st – June 30th: National Seminar Series 2016/2017

All seminars will be publicised on our website and through our social media channels. Given the number of seminars hosted, it can be a challenge to manage changes of dates on our website and through our social media communication schedule. For this reason we ask all applicants to submit their dates/times so that we can effectively promote the seminars and so that those interested are able to make arrangements to attend seminars. We will attempt to make your first choice for time/date available but you may be asked to change your date if there are multiple seminars scheduled for that day.

National Seminar Series 2016/2017

Since the January 1st 2016, the National Forum has focused on a new enhancement theme Assessment OF, For and AS Learning.  This new enhancement theme is the core theme for our National Seminar Series 2016/17:

Assessment OF Learning: completing assessment to demonstrate learning

This is the classic approach to assessing students’ learning in order to ensure that they have achieved the learning outcomes and have met a specified standard. Designed to provide evidence of achievement, Assessment OF Learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements or symbols about how well students are learning; it often contributes to pivotal decisions that will affect students’ futures (Earl & Katz, 2006). ‘It is important, then, that the underlying log and measurement of assessment is credible and defensible’ (Manitoba Education, 2006, p55).

Assessment FOR Learning: using assessment to give feedback on teaching and student learning

This involves teachers taking the lead in exploring and understanding student progress in order to enhance teaching approaches. It focuses on how teachers can use information about students’ knowledge, understanding and skills to inform their students’ learning and their teaching strategies. Assessment FOR Learning is strongly formative in nature, as in addition to giving feedback to staff, it also is used as the basis for providing descriptive feedback to students.

Assessment AS learning: student empowerment and engagement to become a better learner.

The process of students actively engaging in self-monitor or self-regulating their own learning is often described as Assessment AS Learning. This has some overlap with Assessment FOR Learning and it is also described as formative assessment (O’Shea et, al, 2016). It is ‘characterized by students reflecting on their own learning and making adjustments so that they achieve deeper understanding’ (WNCP, 2006, p.41)

The national seminar series 2016/17 will focus on the enhancement theme  Assessment Of, For and As learning. Those making proposals are also  encouraged to  explore the challenges, tensions, balances in these purposes of assessment in order to build and develop the sectorial understanding of how assessment can best be approached with a focus on teaching and learning enhancement.

Seminars might could adopt a focus on one or more of the following overarching sub -themes:

  • Facilitating critical, creative conversations about how assessment could be redesigned to engage, enhance, develop and improve learning.
  • Creating room to experiment, expand and embed enhanced forms of assessment (while also creating assessment approaches that are sustainable and fit for purpose)
  • Building assessment skills and assessment literacy through student partnership
  • Supporting collaboration (among teachers, students, educational developers, technologists, librarians, tutors and others) in the development and evaluation of assessment and its impact on learning
  • Using assessment data and feedback to improve teaching and learning
  • Supporting innovation in assessment enhancement through professional development (including assisting teams to develop digital skills in order to enhance assessment for, of and as learning; recognising different assessment challenges at different levels, for different disciplines; developing awareness of diversity of assessment approaches that might be embraced to enhance learning and engagement).

Relevant questions that might be addressed

Key enabling questions might include:

  • How can students become more engaged with assessment enhancement?
  • How can academic departments, staff and programme leaders be supported to collaborate around assessment enhancement?
  • Are there policies that need to underpin assessment enhancement?
  • How can the curriculum and the learning environment be designed to enhance assessment? 

Key differentiating and integrating questions  might include:

  • What is meant by the terms Assessment Of, FOR and AS learning in different contexts?
  • Can there be a balance in designing Assessment Of, FOR and AS learning across a curriculum?
  • How might we enhance learning by shifting towards more Assessment AS Learning by partnering with and engaging students in the development of assessment?

Additional questions that might be addressed could include

  • How can equitable, creative, engaging assessment also be efficient and sustainable?
  • How might enhanced assessment promote and support academic integrity?
  • Can group or peer learning enhance assessment of, for and as learning?
  • How might assessment enhancement at programme level improve teaching and learning while also taking into account work load issues?
  • How best might we support students to become more engaged in the assessment process and promote assessment literacy among students?
  • How do we develop strategic approaches to assessment with reference to institutional context, the development and fostering of identified graduate attributes, linking teaching learning and assessment strategies to real practice on the ground?
  • What policies and procedures are required to support institutional change to assessment and how might these policies be developed or articulated?
  • How do we develop valid assessments for students that are relevant to today’s context and will be relevant to future contexts? What is important in assessment in higher education today?
  • What disciplinary considerations need to be made when developing an approach to enhancing and transforming assessment?

PLEASE NOTE This National Seminar Series should build on the 2015/16 series which also addressed assessment enhancement.  Please see, encourage debate on assessment (as noted above) and align with the National Forum insight on assessment of, for and as Learning available here. For some key european and national teaching and learning policy and practice documents, refer to Forum’s recent insight available here.


Eligibility criteria

The following are the eligibility criteria for the National Seminar Series 2016/2017:

  • Be a staff member at an institution associated with the National Forum (see here if your institution is eligible
  • Have the acknowledged support of an eligible institution
  • Be able to host a seminar between November 1st 2016 and June 30th 2017
  • Successful applications will explore content of national significance. Therefore proposals need to be very clear about how the seminar will actively reach beyond institutional boundaries and involve participation from across the sector.
  • Participant feedback will be gathered and returned to the National Forum.  Please collect by circulating the following link ( National Forum will provide you with a summary of the responses or alternatively there is a template for the feedback to be circulated available hereThis should be circulated to participants.  The collated results should be returned to the NF with the seminar report.

Application criteria

Relevance to the theme of Assessment for, of and as learning

  • Does the seminar relate explicitly to the theme?
  • Does the seminar encourage debate within or across key sub-themes and questions outlined above

National significance of seminar

  • Is the seminar of interest to participants outside the host institution and how will the organisers actively ensure that cross sector participation will be achieved?

PLEASE NOTE Applications for National Seminars aimed only at staff within a single institution will be considered on a case by case basis.  Please ensure the justification section is completed on the application form.

Quality of submission

  • Is the submission complete?
  • Are the seminar‚ content and learning outcomes informed by the ongoing developments in teaching and learning in higher education?

Each seminar will receive up to €1000 to cover costs which may include paying for a guest speaker, catering costs, printing of promotional materials, marketing, printing of resource packs for your event, travel/subsistence costs for participants, costs associated with recording the event.

Funding cannot be used to purchase equipment or to buy out time from lecturers/staff employed at the hosting institution.

Where a seminar is collaboratively organised by more than one institution, one lead institution must be clearly identified. This institution will be responsible for managing the funding.

Funding can only be transferred to an institution associated with the National Forum (see here if your institution is eligible

A condition of funding is that all hosts must submit a report that will go on the Forum website and that participant feedback will be gathered. The template, for both, will be provided by the Forum.

If you have streaming/recording costs that cannot be covered by the €1000 you can request a supplement to cover the costs of streaming/recording.  A full quotation is required for any additional funding for streaming/recording.

Please ensure that the material in any recording of a national seminar meets all copyright requirements for subsequent hosting on the T&L website.