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The University of Southampton
Researching Assessment Practices (RAP)

Ocean and Earth Science

Laura Grange and Ian Harding

Faculty of Natural & Environmental Sciences

Discipline: Ocean and Earth Science

Focus: Enhancing students’ assessment literacy

“Art or science? What constitutes ‘good’ in a geological field sketch?” The ability to capture the essential features of a geological exposure in a field sketch is an essential skill for geology and geophysics students to develop during their undergraduate degree programmes. Training in how to distil information into a simple but informative and scientifically valid geological field sketch is currently delivered informally during the First Year SW-Wales (Tenby) field course.  Teaching a large group comprising different learning styles/abilities in a field-based context complicates delivery of this type of training. Many students consequently feel unclear about what is expected of them, and unprepared to produce sketches in a field-based context.  To overcome these issues, we have designed a lab-based intervention providing online and laboratory-based training, initially utilising the EAT framework to determine the cohort’s assessment literacy.  This was followed by the main part of the intervention which focussed on field sketching skills: the students evaluated a series of different sketches made of the same geological locality to identify the essential objective and subjective elements of such a sketch and via interactive in-class discussion, they created a marking protocol which was later used to summatively assess a field sketch they made on their fieldtrip.  An interactive lab-based feedback session was employed to reinforce learning and assessment literacy.


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