Background to UCT’s Assessment Policy Revision

The UCT Assessment Policy was last updated in 2015. Since then, understanding of assessment practice and the learning effects of assessment has advanced considerably. The experience of remote teaching during COVID-19, in particular, highlighted the dependence of a large number of courses on traditional invigilated examinations. At the same time, it foregrounded the possibilities of alternative modes of assessment. In light of the changing landscape, the UCT Assessment policy required further revision so that it aligned with and remained relevant to the new context. Specifically, UCT’s Assessment Policy was revised in the context of:

  • a new direction within the University’s strategic plan. UCT’s Vision 2030 outlines excellence, transformation and sustainability as the three core pillars of the academic project.
  • a shift in understanding in the nature and purpose of assessment. The Curriculum Change Framework (2018) highlights the need to re-conceptualise assessment as a social practice in order to make apparent the challenges with assessment. It also foregrounds the need to understand success in holistic ways and to encourage practices that promote assessment for learning.
  • shifts and changes in pedagogies brought about by online and blended learning that have - in some cases, fundamentally - changed the purpose and needs of assessment.

The UCT Assessment Project Team led the work on the revision of UCT’s Assessment Policy.  This included many drafts and revisions, committee presentations, and staff and student consultations. This team was led by Sukaina Walji who took over the role from Professor Alan Cliff in April 2022. They reported to the Assessment Framework Working Group.

The Revised Assessment Policy

The UCT Assessment Project Team is pleased to announce that the revised Assessment Policy was approved by Senate via a Principals Circular, and can now be found on the UCT Policies webpage. This represents just over 2 years of work from a team across CHED including Francois Cilliers (ADP; FHS), Sukaina Walji (CILT), Cheng-Wen Huang (CILT), Soraya Lester (CILT), Sanet Steyn (CEA) and Alan Cliff (CILT), working with the Assessment Framework Working Group.

Supporting Resources

The policy is supported by two key resources:

  1. The Good Practices Assessment Guide which aims to explain concepts featuring in the Assessment Policy and about assessment practice more broadly. It also includes a series of case studies on assessment practices that exemplify the principles of the new policy.
  2. The Assessment Studio (AS) is a short course offered by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching. AS gives staff who teach an opportunity to work in a supportive community on developing and refining the assessment activities and practices in their course. AS specifically focuses on enhancing assessment practices, while alternative offerings cater to those with a general interest in assessment literacy. For more information on this course please contact Cheng-Wen Huang or Shanali Govender.