I suspect the dimensions of assessment at London College of Fashion have not changed for quite some time, we are approaching revalidation on many of the courses I teach and so how we approach assessment is about to come under review.
On the majority of the courses that I teach they run a final major project throughout the first two terms of the 3rd year, this would typically be making a collection of 6 outfits or creating a range of four shoes (they rarely make pairs). The mark they receive for this and an extended essay they are asked to write are put considered holistically although there is a extremely heavily empahises on the practical side and less on the written. This would account for 75% of their overall mark, as they would then have to under a negotiated brief which account for the other 25%. Within this brief the student defines the outcomes and they are encouraged to focus on a specific area this could sampling, illustration, research or anything else they had shown a particular interest in.
Formative / Summative
A student’s personal tutor would offer feedback on a weekly basis, once a term there would be a formative critique when the students tutor and another member of staff would discuss the students work offering very structured formative criticism that would be officially documented. Summative feedback would be offered at the end of the final major project. The feedback they receive would have no impact on this project as they cannot resubmit but it could help form there approach for the negotiated brief that follows.
Formal / Informal
We would define the marking style as formal. But as the tutor who taught a student would primarily be responsible for marking the students work they would inevitable by influenced by the perceptions of the students they had formed through over the year. This is often highlighted by the discrepancies when new we benchmark as sometimes it is hard to look objectively on a students work who may have developed a rapport with over the year.
Product / Process
We mark the final product being their collections, we also mark the process work which takes the form of their portfolio and tech files. An equal number of marks go towards these documents does the collection, however many of the students see these aspects as an afterthought so they enviably get pulled down in assessment. One of the key aspects of my role is instilling the importance of their portfolios and the need to document their process
Continuous / Terminal
All of the marking for the 3-year BA degrees I teach with is done with the final three months. There are there are arguments both for and against terminal approach. On one hand it gives them complete carte blanche to explore their ideas throughout the first two years even if they sometimes end in failure, as they knowing that as long as the pass they will have a clean slate by the third year. On the other hand three years of education is resting on the outcome of the final major project and negotiated brief, I have seen many strong and conscientious students suffer with immense stress.
Standardised / Authentic
The assessment is authentic as the outcomes of the learning and teaching exercises that the engage are directly assessed. The assessment is also aligned to activate that they would engage in if they worked in industry.
Internal / External
Initially the marking is done internally with a tutor marking their students work. Then each tutor takes an example of what they view as a top, intermediate and bottom candiate. The examples are them compared and discussed, we can then calibrated the marking rectifying if someone has been to generous or harsh with the marking so there is consistent approach for all students. Once all marking is done internally we then offer a sample across the grad spectrum for external review.
Norm referenced / Criterion Referenced
Our system is norm referenced, this approach has its strengths and weaknesses. The number of people we have receiving top grades remains consistent year by year so, but if we have a particularly strong year, a student who receives a 2.1, could theoretically achieve a 1st if they submitted the exact same project the following year when there may be a weaker cohort. This also works in reverse as a student in a weaker year group may find it easier to receive top grades.
I since moving to the position I do not actively involved in any facet of the marking process, and the facets that I each are never explicitly marked. I think there needs to be a overhaul in the process and marking and feedback and hope to research and develop ideas around this in my teaching development project