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How finely grained does summative assessment need to be?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Studies in Higher Education
Issue number6
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)677-689
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Assessors in higher education are often faced with the need to grade student work on lengthy scales. Is such fine granularity in assessment really necessary? The question can be addressed at different levels of the assessment system: here the focus is on the difference that would be made to honours degree classifications if so‐called percentage grades were replaced by grades on a very much shorter scale. Detailed analysis of the complete assessment records of 144 Law students on a modular scheme in a university in the UK showed that the difference was not large, and derived mainly from the way in which sub‐modular grades were combined. Some implications of the findings are discussed, which have relevance beyond higher education in the UK.