Time to make our mark

Steve Newstead believes psychology can improve the reliability and validity of student assessment.
A COLLEAGUE recently suggested to me over coffee, only half in jest, that we should completely abandon the assessment of students. He pointed out that we have a good idea of what sort of degree class they will get before they even arrive, since we know that factors such as previous qualifications, age and gender all serve to predict how well students will perform, as does the university at which the degree is studied. If we can make a reasonably accurate prediction based on such factors, why bother to put students through all the stress of examinations and other types of assessment? Even more importantly (at least from his perspective), why devote so much staff time to setting and marking assessments when they add so little extra information?

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