Resources: assessing unessays

The IEF seminar on unessays allowed me to present my conception of unessays to a group of interested and enthusiastic staff, all of whom had some excellent input into the assessment of the unessays.

The introduction and presentation of unessays – and my plea for help – are found in the PowerPoint slides: Unessay presentation – assessment

The key take-home messages I had from this exercise was firstly that I was overcomplicating things, it’s important to recognise commitment and engagement, a strong narrative is important, and that it was perfectly fine to have generic, subjective criteria. After a further discussion, a framework for supporting the further development of the assessment into a portfolio approach was set up.

As a result, I have decided on the following approach – one for this year (within my existing assessment framework) and one for next year, where I can change the framework to suit a more integrated unessay approach.

The key messages I want to integrate into this assessment criteria is a set of objective set criteria and a set of more subjective generic criteria. This will allow for students to have a grounding to their approach.

2017/18 Requirements

  • Unessay, one page artist statement and bibliography of supporting literature
  • Mid point informal review, present your idea to the class & get feedback (mid-Feb)
  • Due in class (and filmed if a one-off presentation); photographed for magazine
  • Submit supporting material (e.g. any written components, links to websites, etc.) electronically
  • Unessay show

2018/19 Requirements

In 2018/19 I will remove several other assessments and replace them with a more integrated assessment (remove pilot study write up; remove reflective journal; remove unessay as of 2017/18).

  • Agreement between tutor and student on the approach and topic by end December
  • Unessay, including: portfolio, showing engagement & planning; unessay with 1 page artist statement
  • Midpoint review, initial feedback: 3 min presentation on your unessay idea & plan (mid-Feb); peer reviewed
  • Submission in class (filmed if one-off); photographed for magazine
  • Submission electronically for written components (e.g. lyrics, articles, etc., links to websites)
  • Unessay show (physical items; photographs/videos, etc.)

Requirements for portfolio:

  • Weekly write up of surgery sessions (at least 5) and midpoint review.
  • Production journal for unessay.
  • Any associated material (e.g. drafts, sketches, design documents, photographs)
  • Bibliography of supporting literature
  • Unessay
  • 1 page artist statement

General Marking Scheme (items in brackets for 2018/19)

Objective criteria:

  • Agreed by tutor
  • Accuracy of information used
  • Production quality commensurate with approach
  • Aimed at non-specialists in the subject

Subjective criteria:

  • Artist statement (and portfolio) shows underlying thought and link with the final year project
  • Depth of commitment and engagement (shown through portfolio)
  • Compelling:
  • Critical and active engagement with the source material
  • Clear and insightful connection with research
  • Effective
  • Chosen medium works persuasively with the design and polish of the unessay
  • Strong narrative present

Overall it was a very successful workshop and I would like to thank the participants for their constructive discussion and assistance in applying this approach in my teaching!