Where’s the transformation? Unlocking the potential of technology-enhanced assessment


  • Trudy Sweeney Flinders University
  • Deborah West Charles Darwin University
  • Anthea Groessler University of Queensland
  • Aeron Haynie University of New Mexico
  • Bettie Matheson Higgs University College Cork
  • Janet Macaulay Monash University
  • Lucy Mercer-Mapstone University of Queensland
  • Michelle Yeo Mount Royal University




assessment, technology, learning, enhanced, transformed


This study provides insight into technology-enhanced assessment (TEA) in diverse higher education contexts. The effectiveness of using technology for assessment in higher education is still equivocal, particularly in regard to evidence of improvements in student learning. This empirical research explores the affordances that technology offers to assessment for transforming student learning. A systematic literature review, guided by an analytic survey tool, was used to identify and interrogate recent scholarly articles published in 19 international journals. From a total of 1713 articles, 139 articles were identified as being focused on the use of technology for assessment. The analytic tool guided the rigorous exploration of the literature regarding the types of technology being used, the educational goal, the type of assessment, and the degree of “transformation” afforded by the technology. Results showed that, in the sample investigated, TEA is used most frequently for formative peer learning, as part of the task design and feedback stages of the assessment cycle, and that social media has been a major affordance for this. Results are discussed with a view to fostering a future culture of inquiry and scholarship around TEA in higher education.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Trudy Sweeney, Flinders University

Trudy Sweeney is Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) and Senior Lecturer of Digital Media at Flinders University, Australia.

Deborah West, Charles Darwin University

Deborah West is Director of Learning and Teaching and Professor at Charles Darwin University, Australia.

Anthea Groessler, University of Queensland

Anthea Groessler is a Learning Designer with the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation at The University of Queensland, Australia.

Aeron Haynie, University of New Mexico

Aeron Haynie is Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor of English at the University of New Mexico, USA.

Bettie Matheson Higgs, University College Cork

Bettie Higgs is Senior Fellow, Teaching and Learning, at University College Cork, and formerly Vice-President for Teaching and Learning; she is currently a Vice-President of ISSOTL.

Janet Macaulay, Monash University

Janet Macaulay is Professor of Biomedical Education and Director of Education in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Monash University, Australia.

Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, University of Queensland

Lucy Mercer-Mapstone is a PhD Candidate at the Sustainable Minerals Institute and a Research Assistant at the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation at The University of Queensland, Australia.

Michelle Yeo, Mount Royal University

Michelle Yeo is Associate Professor and Faculty Development Consultant in the Academic Development Centre at Mount Royal University, Canada.


Boud, D., & Associates (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Demirbilek, M. (2015). Social media and peer feedback: What do students really think about using wiki and Facebook as platforms for peer feedback? Active Learning in Higher Education, 16(3), 211-224.

Drinkwater, M., Gannaway, D., Sheppard, K., Davis, M., Wegener, M., Bowen, W., & Corney, J. (2014). Managing active learning processes in large first year physics classes: The advantages of an integrated approach. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 2(2), 75-90.

Ferrell, G. (2012). A view of the assessment and feedback landscape: Baseline analysis of policy and practice from the JISC assessment & feedback programme.

Ferrell, G. (2013). Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology: From tinkering to transformation. JISC Assessment and Feedback Programme.

Gibbs, G., & Simpson, C. (2004). Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, 3-31.

Glover, I., Parkin, H. J., Hepplestone, S., Irwin, B., & Rodger, H. (2015). Making connections: Technological interventions to support students in using, and tutors in creating, assessment feedback. Research in Learning Technology, 23.

Grant, B. (2013). Pedagogical, SoTL and higher education journal list. Higher Education Academy (HEA) (2012). A marked improvement: Transforming assessment in higher education. York: HEA.

Ho,T., Lin, H., Chen, C., & Tsai, J. (2015). Development of a computer-based visualised quantitative learning system for playing violin vibrato. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(1), 71- 81.

JISC (2010). Effective Assessment in the Digital Age. UK: HEFCE.

JISC (2015). Learning and teaching considerations: [webguide].

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback. Studies in Higher Education. 31(2), 199-218.

Nicol, D. (2008). Technology-supported assessment: A review of research. [Unpublished manuscript.]

Nicol, D. (2009). Transforming assessment and feedback: Enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year. Glasgow: Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education.

Nicol, D. (2010). The foundation for graduate attributes: Developing self-regulation through self and peer assessment. Glasgow: Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education.

Nicol, D. (2013). Resituating feedback from the reactive to the proactive. In D. Boud, and E. Molloy (Eds.) Feedback in higher and professional education: Understanding it and doing it well (pp. 34-49). Oxford: Routledge.

Nicol, D. (2014). Guiding principles for peer review: Unlocking learners’ evaluative skills. In C. Kreber, C. Anderson, N. Entwistle and J. McArthur, Advances and innovations in university assessment and feedback (pp. 197-224). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Oldfield, A., Broadfoot, P., Sutherland, R., & Timmis, S. (2012). Assessment in a digital age: A research review. Bristol: University of Bristol.

O’Hagan, J. (2015). A Critical Review of Puentedura’s SAMR [webpage].

Price, L., & Kirkwood, A. (2014). Using technology for teaching and learning in higher education: A critical review of the role of evidence in informing practice. Higher Education Research and Development , 33(3), 549-564.

Prestridge, S. (2014). A focus on students’ use of Twitter—Their interactions with each other, content and interface. Active Learning in Higher Education , 15(2), 101-115.

Puentedura, R. (2010). Ruben R Puentedura’s Weblog: Ongoing thoughts on education and technology. [Weblog]

REAP (2007). Re-Engineering Assessment Practices in Scottish Higher Education.

Tight, M. (2012). Researching higher education. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Whitelock, D., Gilbert, L., & Gale, V. (2011). Technology enhanced assessment and feedback: How is evidencebased literature informing practice? Paper presented at International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, Research into e-Assessment, Southampton, UK, 5–6 July 2011.

Whitelock, D., & Watt, S. (2008). Reframing e-assessment: Adopting new media and adapting old frameworks. Learning, Media and Technology, 33(3) 153-156.



How to Cite

Sweeney, Trudy, Deborah West, Anthea Groessler, Aeron Haynie, Bettie Matheson Higgs, Janet Macaulay, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, and Michelle Yeo. 2017. “Where’s the Transformation? Unlocking the Potential of Technology-Enhanced Assessment”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 5 (1):41-64. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.5.1.5.



ICWG Special Section