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Dispersed assessment: A novel approach to enhancing student engagement during and beyond Covid-19

Thompson, Z., Yoon, H. ORCID: 0000-0001-5679-3335 & Booth, P. (2023). Dispersed assessment: A novel approach to enhancing student engagement during and beyond Covid-19. The International Journal of Management Education, 21(2), article number 100811. doi: 10.1016/j.ijme.2023.100811


The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent need to shift between face-to-face, online, and blended learning caused considerable disruption to student engagement and the workload of academics. Drawing on a Brand Management course (final year undergraduate) in a UK university, this study discusses the students' perception of, and reflection on, a novel method of assessment that we have termed dispersed assessment. This is defined as multiple credit-bearing tasks that are spread throughout the teaching period, are related to taught learning materials and sessions, assist in completing a related final assessment task, and are evidenced in the submission of the final task to limit additional burden on students and markers. Based on scholarly work on assessment and student engagement, we used Leximancer-assisted thematic analysis to examine the data from three focus groups and students’ written reflections (n = 99). Findings show that dispersed assessment significantly enhanced student engagement, without overburdening students or increasing the marking workload. This novel method of assessment helped nurture learning communities, increase motivation, and reduce procrastination. Regarding policy, we recommend the implementation of dispersed assessment to encourage active and continuous student engagement and improve student experience. Practical examples are offered for the implementation of dispersed assessment using VLE technologies.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Assessment, Student engagement, Dispersed assessment, COVID-19, Higher education
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity
School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries
SWORD Depositor:
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