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Queen Mary Academy

Presentation-based (practical) assessment

Three students in lab coats
Giorgio Chianello profile picture

Dr Giorgio Chianello

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Assessment comes in the form of practical coursework and written exams. As part of coursework, groups are created on QMPlus and students join the groups to work collaboratively on assigned tasks.

The coursework assessment stages include the creation phase in which students put together innovative ideas, for example, in the form of a video, poster or leaflet, in response to a scientific problem. The next stage involves presentations where students get an opportunity to pitch their inventions to ‘potential investors’

Students are assessed on the theoretical understanding of the subject, practical implementation of ideas as well as on their communication and presentation skills.

This approach:

  • equips students with  practical skills that go beyond acquiring scientific knowledge such  as  basic  video  production,  design and communication skills;
  • encourages innovation and collaboration;
  • is practical and engaging;
  • prepares students for the competitive job market;
  • lowers the burden on academics when marking as students are assessed in groups. This gives lecturers more time to focus on teaching and providing detailed feedback.
  • Students  have  to  work  in  groups,  as  a result, students that come from education systems  that  encourage  competitiveness more   than   collaboration   may   find   it difficult to adjust. 
  • Working in groups can mean that some students dominate discussions leaving others behind. However, the design of the presentation activity ensures   there is equal participation.

We use QMPlus for exam submissions, MSTeams and Zoom for presentations and Blackboard Collaborate.

Feedback is made available while students work on their presentations and post-presentations.

Can it be used face to face and/or online?

The  assessment  approach  is  ideal  both online and face-to-face.


Do you use it summatively or formatively?

Assessing  students  is  done  through  both summative   and   formative   assessment. Students  get  to  have  their  presentations reviewed  and  feedback  provided before the final  submission.  

Integrity has not been a big issue as a larger potion of the assessment is on practical coursework.

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