What is the UCT Assessment Project?
The UCT Assessment Project: Enabling student success through transformed programmes of assessment is being conducted from 2021-2023. This project focuses on improving the practice of assessment at undergraduate level across all faculties with a view to improving learning outcomes for all students. It primarily focuses on staff development as a means to achieve this. The UCT Assessment Project is currently one of thirteen projects at UCT that are being funded by a University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG), and is led by Sukaina Walji who took over the role of Project Lead from Professor Alan Cliff in April 2022.
The Assessment Project Team works in conjunction with faculty representatives from the Assessment Framework Working Group (AFWG) at UCT. Project Team members include:
- Ms Sukaina Walji - CILT
- Dr Danny Fontaine-Rainen - Dean’s Office
- Ms Sanet Steyn - CEA
- Professor Francois Cilliers - Faculty of Health Sciences
- Dr Cheng-Wen Huang - CILT
- Ms Soraya Lester - CILT
The practice of assessment is enacted by academics who typically learn assessment on the job rather than through formal education and who may have limited assessment literacy. That practice is influenced by numerous factors including lecturers’ conceptions of assessment and assessment policy. The Assessment Policy at the University of Cape Town has been in place for about a decade now, in which time understanding of assessment practice and the learning effects of assessment has advanced considerably. The experience of remote teaching during COVID19 highlighted the dependence of a large number of courses on traditional invigilated examinations, and at the same time, provides an opportunity to use different modes of assessment. Bearing this context in mind and the goal of improving the quality of assessment at undergraduate level across all faculties at UCT, the project is comprised of the following components:
- Scoping of Assessment Policies at South African and International Universities
- Revising the UCT Assessment Policy
- Mapping of undergraduate assessment practices across UCT
- Survey of Assessment Practices completed by academics teaching undergraduate courses at UCT
- Recruiting academics to work with CILT to improve their assessment practices
- Design and implement enhanced professional development interventions on assessment for academics
- Deploy an enhanced Assessment Design Studio for course-based assessment consultation
The UCT Assessment Project Team is currently working on the following project components:
- Revising the UCT Assessment Policy: the UCT Assessment Project Team in collaboration with the AFWG has revised the UCT Assessment Policy. Revision of the policy is ongoing, with the Project Team aiming to submit the final draft for approval to the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee in September. The Project Team will be hosting three engagement sessions in the second semester where students and staff can provide input in the drafting of the Assessment Policy. You can find more specific details about these sessions here.
- Good Practices Assessment Guide: the Project Team is also developing a supporting document to the draft UCT Assessment Policy called the Good Practices Assessment Guide. This guide aims to explain concepts featuring in the draft Assessment Policy and about assessment practice more broadly. It will also include a series of case studies on assessment practices at UCT. If you are interested in volunteering to be interviewed for a case study or would like to recommend a colleague or course that should be included, please email Soraya Lester.
- Reading Groups: The UCT Assessment Project Team will be hosting a small series of reading groups in the coming months. Each reading group will consider a single concept that is of importance to assessment at UCT and provide a space for discussion and debate around the concept. The feedback will be used to facilitate the revision of the UCT Assessment Policy. The first reading group considered continuous assessment and was facilitated by Sanet Steyn (CEA) and Cheng-Wen Huang (CILT). The second reading group considered language assessment literacy and language policy literacy and was hosted by Sanet Steyn and Professor Albert Weideman (University of the Free State). If you would like any information on the reading groups, please email Soraya Lester.
- Presentation on Student Focus Groups for the International Higher Education Teaching Learning Association 2023 [June 2023]
- Report on Undergraduate Assessment Practices at UCT (includes findings from the Assessment Survey completed by academics teaching undergraduates courses and the undergraduate course mapping exercise) [August 2023]
- Report on Policy Feedback submitted in 2022 
- Draft of the revised UCT Assessment Policy [March 2022]
- Presentation on Continuous Assessment for the Teaching and Learning Conference 2022 [October 2022]
- Report on the Scoping of Assessment Policies [April 2021]
If you would like to learn more about the project or reach a project member please contact Soraya Lester who will assist you.