A checklist for inclusive assessment and feedback, in a post-ChatGPT world

A checklist for creating inclusive assessment and feedback practices that help to improve student learning experiences and respond to challenges posed by ChatGPT


University of the West of England Bristol
25 Apr 2023
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Assessment and feedback must be designed to cater to individual learning needs and interests. This does not mean a lowering of academic standards, rather, inclusive assessment helps to safeguard academic standards while maximising opportunities for success among all students in a diverse learning community.

While we have been writing this article, ChatGPT has been released, sending shockwaves through higher education. Students who have long been using grammar and spellcheckers for their assignments can now use ChatGPT to complete these same assignments. But this does not mean the end of assessment. This is an opportunity to rethink assessment practices and allow students to explore knowledge more efficiently.

We tested ChatGPT with one of our assessment questions and found the AI writer could complete the essay within seconds, with well-structured original text and references. However, when we looked more closely at the content, we found that while it gave the appearance of topical knowledge, it lacked a personal, critical “voice”.

ChatGPT can be used to answer knowledge-based but not reflective questions. It cannot replace compassion, curiosity, humility and kindness.

So, after factoring ChatGPT into the assessment design, we have developed a checklist that includes three sections to judge how inclusive our assessment and feedback is. In this checklist, we use a series of questions with five possible responses to assess the degree of inclusivity: 1= very unlikely,  2 = unlikely, 3 = neutral , 4= likely, and 5 = very likely. A higher score means that the assessment and feedback are highly inclusive.

When using this checklist, you should ask yourself…

A) Assessment planning

1) Have you used a set of clear, accessible and transparent assessment criteria that are tailored to the learning outcomes?

2) Are you confident that students clearly understood the assessment criteria, timelines and expectations?

3) Are you confident that your assessment provides a balanced opportunity of assessing students’ application of knowledge and skills, as required by the learning outcomes?

4) Have you aligned the formative (assessment for learning) and summative assessments (assessment of learning) with learning outcomes?

5) Have you included the process of “evidencing the thinking” in the assessment?

B) Assessment mode, design and conditions

1) Have you offered students a choice of assessment methods or formats (for example, podcast, multimedia project, group presentation, class debate)?

2) Have you considered how technology can be used to support the assessment? For example, students could submit their online coursework via Blackboard or Pebblepad. Microsoft Teams could be used to support online presentations.

3) Have you considered including visual materials such as videos or photos, where appropriate, for students to respond to?

4) Have you asked students to reference current issues or events related to the assessment topic?

5) Have you asked students to reflect on their learning or experience of the topic?

6) Have you mapped out the assessment submission deadline and student workload for the semester?

7) Have you ensured that reasonable adjustments have been factored into the assessment tasks for students with disabilities, physical or mental health impairments?

C) Delivering feedback

1) Have you ensured that feedback is linked to the assessment criteria and learning outcomes?

2) Have you ensured that the feedback is clear and easy to understand in terms of language and legibility?

3) Have you used a variety of forms of feedback (for example, peer feedback, written feedback, facilitated discussion)?

4) Have you ensured that feedback is provided to students in a timely manner?

5) Have you given students the opportunity to reflect on the feedback they received?

Thoughts for the future

By using this checklist, we can explore what students think rather than what they know and set questions that encourage creativity, decision-making and critical thinking. It will help us offer students clarity and transparency in terms of what is expected of them, which may in turn reduce assessment anxiety. It could even discourage students from cheating and collusion using ChatGPT and other available tools.

Zheng Feei Ma, senior lecturer in public health, and Kim Duffy, interim director for learning and teaching, both in the School of Health and Social Wellbeing, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).


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