So this year the department have introduced formative assessments into the structure of each module. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, they’re essentially optional pieces of assessment that aren’t formally marked, but which can give you feedback that can help you in more formally assessed pieces of work, such as essays.
You might be thinking, well what’s the point in doing them? Especially if they’re not going to count towards your final grade! I suppose that’s one way to look at it, but I’ve personally found them really valuable.
Modules would have most often been formulated with two 2,500 word essays (worth 25% each) and an exam (worth 50%), but with this formative assessment it means that it’s just one essay. This means there’s more time to work on your essay, which hopefully gives you a better chance of getting a good mark!
It’s not just the extra time that it gives you that’s helpful though, as the formative assessment often takes the form of an essay play or a mock exam question. The chance to get written feedback not only gives you an indication of what level you’re working at, but also gives you really clear pointers on how to get up to the next level.
For example, I submitted an essay plan last semester and my tutor indicated it would be at the top end of 2:1 and gave me some pointers about how to focus my argument and widen my reading. Having taken those comments on board I was able to push my mark up to a first, which shows just how valuable it really is.
Hopefully you can make the most of your formative assessments too!