Assessment Design: types of assessment task


What is it?

Asking students to organise an event to which a number of other people are invited can be a good way of allowing them to demonstrate that they can synthesise disciplinary knowledge and a variety of transferable skills, such as time and project management and team working. Events could be feasible in most disciplinary areas: you could think about public consultations, displays of student work, performances, exhibitions, awards, local history club meetings, debates, film shows, research reporting, mini-conferences, lectures from external speakers, sports competitions or displays and so on.

Recommended levels:


Suitable for groups?


Things to think about

This assessment is suitable for you if you have ever been involved in organising an event of any kind yourself, and probably best avoided if you haven’t ever done this. It doesn’t have to have been any kind of academic event; the process is similar whatever the context.

You would need to decide whether the event planning could be done purely as a plan (an imaginary event) or will be followed through to an actual event. In either case, students may need quite a lot of support with this kind of task. At level 5, you might need to give a lot of guidance about how a successful event is planned, what steps need to be taken and you might also need to check plans at regular intervals and to ask them about contingencies. Students might get involved in co-organising an academic event with you and colleagues (eg a series of seminars) to shadow the process and learn about what needs to be done.

It would be prudent to start with the formative task of organising a small event or making the planning elements formative so that they receive feedback before proceeding to a real event.

There are various ways of assessing the event itself, which will depend on the learning outcomes for the unit. You could judge the event in the same sort of way as you might assess a presentation, using a standard feedback sheet. You might not evaluate the event itself, but expect a written report from the group on the process of organising it and their analysis of its success, and mark that alone. If so, are you going to assess the process alone, or do you also want to evaluate their reflections on the process of organising the event rather than its success? How much will feedback from other participants in the event count? If you want to assess their ability to work in groups, then will you take into account their peer assessments or will you judge this by the outcomes?

As with all event-based marking, consider whether you need to have two people making the assessment judgements, or whether you can sample marking by having a moderator attend different events. Usually these activities are large enough to make it possible to have two or more assessors at the event.

Event organisation is an excellent type of assignment for students who have good analytical and organisational skills, as they can potentially do well even if their skills of written expression are less good.

Assignment length

The size of the event will depend on the context, of course, and the group sizes need to be scaled up depending on the event. You might expect a pair of people to be able to organise a small local event for 5-10 people, with minimal catering, and to need a group of 10 to organise an evening social event for up to 100 people. Your own experience of organising events would need to be a guide.

Group work

Organising an event should be done in groups as there are a number of roles which need to be undertaken: it would be difficult for an individual to complete all of the tasks successfully, even for a small event. Members of the group will need to select or be allocated different roles. If the ability to work in a group is being assessed, then the group could also complete a short submission which explains how roles were allocated and how each contributed to the finished article. They could also peer assess each others’ contributions to the task.

Plagiarism issues

The process of organising an event is fairly standard and may look similar between students, so should attract only a small proportion of the total marks. It would be difficult to copy any element of the event itself in any meaningful way, so plagiarism should not be a problem.


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