Conference time: -
Closing Remarks

Dear Conference Participant,

As this REAP conference on ‘Assessment Design for Learner Responsibility’ has come to an end, I thought I would provide a short summary of progress, highlight some specific themes from the discussions and point to the future.

First of all, we are pleased that the conference was well attended. 400 delegates from over 46 different countries were online over the three days. This was impressive for a conference not aimed at technologists and that required that many of us embrace a new medium. The conference website received over 8000 hits in the lead up to the conference. We were also forced to close registration 3 days early due to excess demand (with a waiting list of 200).

The feedback so far has been very positive and we look forward to more feedback from you. We will be inviting you to complete a short questionnaire after the conference activities are concluded. We really would like to know about your experiences during this conference so we can do a better job next time.

Some themes

A lot has been happening both in the chat rooms and in the discussion boards. Some themes that seem to have been of particular interest to large numbers of participants are:

  • New ways of thinking about, and designing, first year classes so that they lay the foundation for learner autonomy.
  • The potential offered by new and old technologies, such as wikis and virtual learning environments to support learner collaboration and new assessment methods
  • The need to engage senior management in supporting new practices and to develop accountability measures that capture ‘real’ learning.
  • Approaches to engaging staff at a wider level and addressing their concerns about changing practices, particularly relating to workload.
  • The role of students in designing assessment and the implications for certification and accreditation.
  • Giving students choice in assessment and involving them as partners in decision-making.
  • Ideas surrounding learning communities, social networking and the development of identities through dialogue and discussion.
  • The inter-relationship of formative and summative assessment in practice (e.g. ‘making good formative processes work in summative contexts without them being destroyed in the process’)
  • Balancing group working and solo working through assessment practices and in and out of class learning.
  • Encouraging meta-cognition, reflection and self-assessment in learning.

What next?

This Conference has been a major dissemination output of the Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) project, a £1m initiative supported by the Scottish Funding Council. Please note that REAP activities will continue beyond the conference:

  • The conference website will be open for the next two weeks. We hope that you will continue to contribute to the discussion boards
  • We are inviting those who weren’t able to attend to enter and view the conference website and partake in any discussions.
  • The transcripts form the chat sessions are available for download from the conference website.
  • A contact list of participants with email addresses is also available. We do hope, if you haven’t already done so, that you add more details about yourself as well as your name to the delegate list.
  • We plan to create a publication from the conference. More details to follow.
  • The whole conference site (including keynotes, case studies, forums, chats and other resources) will be archived providing a lasting resource on Assessment Design for Learner Responsibility. This will be linked to the REAP website for open access (
  • Further events will be developed to further promote REAP.

Final Thanks

I would like to thank all those who made this event possible including keynote speakers (Mantz Yorke, David Boud, Steve Draper, Trudy Banta, Sharon Hamilton and Susan Kahn), the expert facilitators (Derek Rowntree, Terry Mayes, Lewis Elton, Peter Kandlbinder, Catherine Owen, Steve Ehrmann, Nigel Watson, Colin Milligan, Maddalena Taras) and to those participating in the Higher Education Academy panel session on student input into assessment (Brenda Smith, Margaret Price, Linda Creanor and the student, Katy McCloskey). Thanks also to all the 60 authors/practitioners who provided written case studies for discussion.

Special thanks to the REAP team, to Catherine Owen, Martin Hawksey and Jenny Booth who all had key roles in the organisation, content and the technological support provided before and during the conference. I am also grateful to Jim Everett (from Learning Services at Strathclyde) who put together the conference environment. Also, we must thank Rachel Harris and Alison Muirhead from Inspire Research, who brought their considerable expertise in many areas to make this conference a great success.

Last but by no means least I would like to finish by thanking all who participated. I hope it was as enjoyable for you as it was for us.

All the best and we hope to meet you at our next international online conference

David Nicol
Director of the REAP Project