EMA Focus GroupThe University is running a major programme to improve the experience of assessment for students and understanding the student perspective is extremely important. The EMA Programme recently started running small focus group discussions with a diverse range of students to explore how we could make better use of the data we now have on their assessment as a result of making sub modular marks available in RISIS.

We ran our first session in June with undergraduates and it proved a very informative and successful event.  During a frank and open discussion, participants shared their experiences and expectations of personal progress tracking tools both within educational contexts and outside of it: what they do well and what the challenges can be.  In the second half of the session, we ran some activities to uncover what features students would value and what approaches work well or less well.  Some of the comments were expected and intuitive, some less so, which is what makes a focus group such a valuable exercise.

Over the remainder of the year, the EMA programme will be undertaking more of these focus groups to understand the views of the many different types of students we have here at Reading. We are looking for current University of Reading students, including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduates, from different Schools and Institutes, and with different personal circumstances to share their views and experiences of assessment and marks.  The findings will inform how we can use online assessment data in a variety of ways to help support students in the future.

We are now working on analysing the first set of results and they will be published in due course. In the meantime, if you or your students are interested in taking part in any of these friendly, two-hour focus groups, please contact: student.ema@reading.ac.uk.

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