My first publication from a CRADLE collaboration. 'Applying formative practices to summative assessment: A case study of a large class in the pursuit of sustainable assessment'.


My first publication from a CRADLE collaboration

And what a collaboration!

David Boud (Director of CRADLE) has been involved in research and teaching development in adult, higher and professional education for over 30 years and has contributed extensively to the literature (39,016 citations and a H-index of 80). Ernesto Panadero (Researcher: Universidad Autónoma Madrid (UAM) and Honorary Professor: Deakin U) is an outstanding researcher who is funded at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid by the Ramón y Cajal excellence program for research (more competitive than an ARC DECRA). Both are inspirational researchers, and as I am new to the educational research scene, it was such a privilege to work with both Ernesto and Dave. 

So, what is our publication about? It is a case study of my own large classes teaching experience, the difficulty of large classes, the importance of formative assessment, and how to implement it within summative assessment constraints. I am excited to share this work, as this article represents a culmination of seven years of teaching practice.

ABSTRACT: Teaching a large class can present real challenges in design, management and standardisation of assessment practices. One of the main dilemmas for university teachers is how to implement effective formative assessment practices with accompanying high-quality feedback consistently over time with large classroom groups. This article reports on how elements of formative practices can be implemented as part of summative assessment in very large undergraduate cohorts (n = 1500 in one semester), studying in different modes (on- and off-campus), with multiple markers, and under common cost and time constraints. Design features implemented include the use of exemplars, rubrics and audio feedback. The article draws on the reflections of the leading teacher, and argues that, for summative assessment to benefit learners, it should contain formative assessment elements. The teaching practices utilised in the case study provide some means to resolve the tensions between formative assessment and summative assessment that may be more generally applicable.

Interested to read more? We have 50 free copies, please download, save, read, and share our publication (

Broadbent, J. Panadero, E. & Boud, D. (Jan 2017). Applying formative practices to summative assessment: A case study of a large class in the pursuit of sustainable assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.

Who wants to be a CRADLE fellow? I do!

On December 14, 2015, I became the inaugural CRADLE Fellow. I really did not know what to expect; I mean, what is a CRADLE fellow anyway? According to CRADLE’s own blog post:

The Fellowship enables scholars to undertake research for up to 12 months in association with the assessment research centre

I thought, okay, I am interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning… tell me more.

CRADLE Fellows are provided with support and mentoring from CRADLE researchers and are actively involved in research activities of the Centre

Great! To be honest, when it comes to the discipline of higher education teaching and learning research, I felt like a fish out of water.

The Fellowship offers funding of $15k to support the CRADLE Fellow’s research program

 Awesome. This certainly will help support my projects, and free up my time.


So, in a practice sense, how did this translate?

For me, one of the great things about the Fellowship was it gave me a place think, write, and discuss ideas with experienced, like-minded researchers. I teach the largest unit in the School of Psychology, in the largest trimesters there are over 1500 students, 50 tutorials running a week, 4,500 assignments to mark, and 25+ casual staff. It is busy, full of distractions, interruptions, and meetings. CRADLE offered me a space in the Downtown office to work from, and I was glad to take up that offer. Throughout the year, I have managed to work from the CRADLE city office around 2-4 times per month. Being away from my normal workspace at Burwood campus helped me to focus on my CRADLE projects, and has given me some quiet time to write.

Not only did the Fellowship provide me with a space to work, it also provided me with numerous opportunities I never would have ordinarily had. I have been able to collaborate on an article with the Centre’s Director, Professor David Boud, had feedback on an article from the Associate Director Philip Dawson, devised an ARC linkage application in collaboration with Dr Rola Awajji and Associate Director Philip Dawson, submitted a chapter as an author on the CRADLE edited book on evaluative judgement, and started new collaborations (including two articles and a book chapter) with their visiting Honorary Professor Dr. Ernesto Panadero. While I haven’t directly worked on projects with all the CRADLE team, I have been lucky enough to share conversations, lunches, coffees, afternoon teas, dinners, and the odd wine (or two!) with them. They are a lovely bunch of people to work with. (Did I mention you get to work with David Boud? David Boud !!!)

What are you waiting for? If you are interested in becoming a CRADLE Fellow, fill out the CRADLE Fellowship application form!