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Seminar Series -  Professor Sue Bloxham

Cardiff Met was pleased to welcome Professor Sue Bloxham to the Cyncoed Campus on Wednesday 8th February to facilitate QED's Seminar Series workshop and TED talk for staff. 

Having worked in higher education for many years and more latterly in educational development, Sue is now a higher education developer and consultant specialising in the field of higher education assessment. Sue brought her insights, from working with over 40 universities and extensive research, to generate discussion around; understanding academic judgement, authentic assessment and best practice approaches to instigating institutional change in the field of assessment practice.


Sue's early afternoon workshop session saw her guide Cardiff Met staff through the many benefits as well as the means of designing authentic assessment within curricula. Breaking the topic down into three key component themes of realism, cognitive challenge and feedback Sue encouraged academics and learning developers alike to consider existing assessment practices and how these might be further developed to ensure authenticity. She did this by prompting interdisciplinary small group analysis and also providing a range of best practice examples from across different disciplines. The workshop was extremely well received by the participants providing insights into the benefits of such approaches, their ability to mitigate against unfair practice and how these may be further developed within the institution. Sue's slides from the workshop can be viewed on the Cardiff Met's intranet here.


The late afternoon TED talk delivered by Sue saw a valuable analysis of the inherent inconsistency within the application of academic judgment in traditional HE assessment practices. The talk provided an overview of the subject, based on current research that challenges many of the existing practices together with questioning the authority of current academic judgement practices. She highlighted a range of innovative approaches that better seek to involve the learner in the otherwise tacit processes of assessment and associated feedback. Sue made clear the benefits to both staff and student to be gained in implementing a more active and involved relationship with regards to the development and application of assessment task design, the criteria such tasks test and the marking standards and means by which submissions are judged. As earlier in the day, the session was extremely well received by the participants raising a range of challenges and interesting points to consider from an institutional perspective. Sue's slides from the workshop can be viewed on the Cardiff Met's intranet here.

Sue Bloxham Biography

"I have many years' experience in higher education: teaching, educational research and educational development and now work independently as a higher education developer and consultant in the field of higher education assessment working with over 40 universities in recent years. I have developed a particular interest and expertise in higher education assessment over many years using action and practitioner research to investigate assessment matters. I have published widely in the field including the bestselling Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education (Open University Press – co-author Pete Boyd) and numerous journal articles. I was also awarded a UK National Teaching Fellowship in 2007. My interest in assessment focuses on a range of topics; how we manage assessment to support retention, diversifying assessment, group assessment, feedback, course design and marking.

I have also contributed to the Higher Education Academy's A Marked Improvement guide to transforming assessment in the University sector and to the revision of the QAA's Quality Code, chapter B6 on Assessment of Students and recognition of prior learning. I am an institutional reviewer for the QAA.

My most recent work explores how students come to understand assessment expectations and how academics use standards in their academic judgement including the work of external examiners. I am currently focusing on the thorny issue of implementing institutional change in assessment. I have contributed keynote lectures, workshops and seminars on a range of assessment topics to a wide range of universities, staff conferences and other professional organisations in the UK and many other countries in Europe and further afield including Australia, New Zealand and Chile. My work in universities is designed to meet the local needs of the institution whilst drawing on an in depth knowledge of assessment research and practice and invariably receives very strong positive evaluation."