Evaluating impact of formative assessment in engineering mathematics

Jonathan Cole, Karen Fraser

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In keeping with our University’s education strategy, which desires a balance between assessment of learning and assessment for learning, along with a greater focus on continuous assessment and less reliance on examinations, the core mathematics module for first-year engineering students (170 students) has recently been redesigned. The aim is to build student confidence by encouraging them to take greater responsibility for their learning through the use of peer review, self assessment and reflection on the quality of their work and learning.

Data gathered to evidence impact of the changes to the module has come through mid-module evaluation, focus groups, post-module feedback forms and exam results. The mid- and post-module questionnaires contained some questions that invited open-ended responses and others that had a list of responses from which students could select. Focus groups involved a semi-structured approach and participants were selected using purposeful sampling. The qualitative data was analysed thematically. Exam questions that had been used before the new module design were reused and hypothesis tests for the difference in mean marks were conducted while controlling for students’ prior mathematical qualification. The session will describe the changes to the module and consider their effectiveness using some of this data.

Those involved with teaching and assessing a large class of mixed mathematical abilities should find this useful. The data is very interesting and the significant challenges associated with the practical implementation of peer review and reflection will be confronted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
EventCETL-MSOR 2018: Evidencing Excellence in the Mathematical Sciences - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 05 Sept 201806 Sept 2018


ConferenceCETL-MSOR 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • mathematics
  • formative assessment
  • peer review
  • reflection


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