UG Handbook - Assessment methods

Assessment is based upon the principle that students should be encouraged to demonstrate the range, detail and depth of the material they have learnt. As such the Department of Psychology employs a broad range of assessment methods to facilitate these goals: these include Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), practicals, coursework essays, essays within exams, group mini-project presentations, a literature survey, and a research project dissertation.

This diverse range of assessment is used in order to offer all students the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths whilst ensuring that none are disadvantaged by over-reliance on a single method. In addition, these methods have been designed to enable assessment of breadth of understanding and scientific knowledge (e.g. via MCQs) through to highly focused assessments of in depth knowledge and understanding (e.g. via the Literature Survey). As your degree programme unfolds, the type of assessment progresses from a broad mix that assesses both factual knowledge and understanding through to more focused methods that demand balanced and insightful evaluation of material as the scientific content of the course becomes more in depth and specialized. These varied assessment formats also prepare students for the future when they may have to access fundamental scientific knowledge, prepare reports, work in teams or give a presentation. Being flexible and acquiring transferable skills is part of the process of assessment as well as the process of learning.

Types of assessment used:

Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) exams: Assess knowledge and understanding of a wide range of the material covered in lectures, tutorials and reading. Used particularly in years 1 and 2 to ensure knowledge of material forming the core syllabus required by BPS.  In general, there are 20 MCQ questions per 4-week teaching block.

Research Methods VLE assignments: Assess understanding of data and data analysis techniques.

Coursework essays: Assess understanding and evaluation of topics in more depth. Develop writing and critical evaluation skills.

Coursework practical reports: Assess understanding of experimental design and the analysis and interpretation of data.

Mini-project poster presentations (group work): Assess presentation skills, independence, creativity, ethics, data collection and analysis skills. Develops team work skills.

Exam essays: Assess understanding and evaluation of a topic in depth. Develops writing and critical evaluation skills under time pressure.

Literature survey: Assesses understanding and evaluation of a specialized topic in depth. Develops literature searching, writing and critical evaluation skills.

Research project dissertation: Assesses understanding of the research process including experimental design, analysis and interpretation of data, as well as the understanding, evaluation and communication of in depth specialized knowledge.

You will encounter two types of assessment during your time at University: formative and summative. 

Formative assessment is there to help you develop.  While it does not contribute to your final degree mark, it will help you learn more effectively - you will be provided with feedback which will help you to review and improve your performance.

Summative assessment indicates the extent of your success in meeting the assessment criteria and how well you have fulfilled the learning outcomes of a particular module or programme.  The marks from this type of assessment will contribute to your final degree result or towards progression decisions.

Further details relating to assessment can be found on the VLE.

To contact the Student Documentation maintainers please email (use your University of York email address).