How to assess client-led
issue of assessment procedures and criteria for client-led group projects was
raised at almost every event we attended. Two potential difficulties exist:
making an accurate assessment of individuals’ contributions to a team effort
and making a justifiable comparative assessment of students working on
different client briefs. In forming these judgments, assessors are frequently
reliant on statements made by students, supported by their own observations.
There is always the possibility that students will make false claims and that
observations are inaccurate, however careful the assessment process is. If the
assessment procedure in a university is particularly rigid and does not admit
students’ self assessment as legitimate evidence of achievement, it may not be
possible to run projects such as ours at that institution.
makes the assessments and when
three stakeholders in the system, the students, the clients and the academic
staff. All have a role in the assessment of the projects.
client is giving up some time and money and needs to be satisfied with what
they receive. In our system they formally assess the quality of the products
delivered and provide marks broken down into categories for such things as,
ease of use, functionality, robustness, quality of user manuals and so on. This
is done at the end of the project.
are asked to assess the project both as a team an individually. They can
describe the problems that they experienced and what they have learnt from it
all. we ask them to identify the contributions of all
the team members and to sign the report. This can help us to identify both a
team mark and an individual mark.
also assess the quality of the processes and the products generated throughout
the project. We look at the timesheets and the minutes of the meetings as well
as the designs, documentation, code, test strategies, etc. This aspect will
provide the other 50% of the module mark.
are the assessment criteria
For the client
the assessment is as follows.
are negotiated with the clients. We have found that a simple mark sheet with
about 7-8 criteria works well. The clients are asked to allocate a mark from 1
(poor) to 5 (excellent) against each criteria for all
the systems they evaluate. In the Software Hut this then counts for half of all
the assessment and is a good means of motivating the students to satisfy the
client, where this can be achieved!
are asked to assess the module in terms of its interest, its relevance and enjoyability. They also state how difficult it was, how
time-consuming and whether they were satisfied with the support provided by the
look at the quality of the products and also the success of the management
process and the team work.
evidence of performance and achievement is assessed
almost everything that we can. The students submit, electronically, weekly
timesheets, minutes of meetings and all key deliverables such as requirements
documents and designs, the code and test results. All of this information is
useful in the assessment process.
the assessment process
methodology has evolved over a number of years. We are happy with both the
process and the results it produces. We have had very few problems or
complaints from the students - or from colleagues!