Gibbs, G., & Simpson, C. (2004-5). Conditions under which assessment supports student learning. Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, 1, pp. 1-31.
This article emphasised the links between assessment and learning and the functions of assessment. The article proposed a set of conditions for supporting student learning, which are yet to be tested in practice. The influence of assessment upon the volume, focus and quality of studying was discussed, including:
- Relationships between the frequency of assignments and on-task study time (related to achievement)
- How assignments influence what students spend their time on and the quality of their efforts
- The importance of the learning activity that is required within the assessment tasks
The importance of feedback on student learning was discussed, including that it works better if it:
- Occurs frequently enough and in enough detail
- Attends to the student’s learning or performance, not to personal characteristics
- Is well-timed and focuses on skill development or obtaining support/resources
- Relates to the purpose of the assignment and the criteria for success
- Informs students at their level of understanding or learning
- Is presented in a way that students will read it and consider its import
- Is acted upon by students
Action research to further develop understandings about the impacts of assessment variations on student learning was recommended. This article is useful for stimulating reflection on the impact of assessment on learning and may be useful in designing assessments that serve their intended purposes better, or in evaluating the impacts of current assessment practices.