Implementing Ipsative Assessment

RESEARCHERS: Dr Gwyneth Hughes, Kaori Okumoto, Elizabeth Wood

Faculty of Policy and Society, Institute of Education

TRA6 G Hughes (Final Report) [pdf, 786kb]



Distance learners rely on effective assessment and feedback for motivation and for learning. There is evidence from a previous study that an ipsative approach to assessment (assessment based on a comparison with a learner’s previous performance) might both motivate distance learners by developing self-awareness of progress and help them to take a longer-term approach to academic study.

In this project an ipsative feedback scheme was developed with distance learning tutors and implemented using an ipsative feedback form for students to complete. These forms and subsequent tutor comments were evaluated and analysed for changes in feedback practice. Students and tutors were also interviewed about the value of the scheme. Findings indicated that ipsative feedback on progress has the potential to motivate learners and to encourage them to act on developmental feedback, but further intervention is needed to manage student expectations and to ensure that this intervention is sustainable and scalable.

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  1. […] learn more on ipsative assessment in education and learning, one resource is this study by Dr Gwyneth Huges of the Institute of Education. (As a heads-up, the term ipsative measure is […]

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