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Improving the Online Assessment and Progression Experience

The Student Systems Partnership (SSP) recently completed a multi-year project to enhance the online experience for progression and award processing of University students.

The SSP team recently completed the fourth and final phase of the Assessment and Progressions Tools (APT) project to support schools and students with processing and accessing award and progression details.

Using the APT students are able to access their marks online and via mobile, through EUCLID, once ratified by the Board of Examiners with no lag time, enabling them to stay up to date on where they are in their academic journey and how they are progressing.

The project began in 2014 with the first phase to identify and address the fragmented mix of in-house systems used to prepare marks and calculations for assessments and awards. Over six years the project evolved, with investments in time and money, from a pilot testing with schools to enhancing the user experience and incorporating a streamlined process accessible for students and staff in EUCLID.

The fourth phase of the project began in August 2019 with a focus on continuous improvements to a backlog of issues related to progression and award processing to better support postgraduate taught programmes.

Improvements and enhancements were prioritised based on input from user groups representing every School across the University. In this final phase the team deployed 22 releases to EUCLID, including 80 bug fixes, improvements and new features.

It is very useful to have a dedicated team to listen to users and make improvements, and I wish there were more such groups! Colleagues who attended the user group meetings felt they were very informative and productive,”

School of Social and Political Science

The team aimed to reduce the amount of support calls by fixing bugs, automating tasks, and reducing the number of processes performed by Student Systems Operations. The SSP team worked with Operations to document procedures and transfer system knowledge to ensure continued support for future inquiries. The SSP team offered targeted training to Schools related to their specific processes according to how their programmes and courses are managed within the APT.

The APT teams also embedded user experience techniques throughout the development process to identify any issues and test the usability of new features with APT users. Improvements to the student experience include a clearer student view of assessment, the addition of progression notes so Schools can communicate information about progression and award decisions to students more easily and bug fixes and improvements to the progression screens to reduce the time it takes for students to receive their results.

The updates to process course results were brilliant and super useful. It saved us a lot of work. Likewise, being able to update notes in bulk to the Progression and Awards screen and remove/reinstate records saved work at a time when we really needed to prioritise other things, so thank you very much,

School of Physics

Based on assessing 35% of the work delivered, annual time savings was calculated at 378 staff hours with an average 88% reduction in processing time. Further, 96% of awards were published by the deadline in June 2020, despite additional work, with no APT system downtime and excellent support during peak period with fewer hours spent by Student Systems Operations for the whole of 2020.  

Further information on https://www.projects.ed.ac.uk/project/sac081/closure-report

Three students in graduation robes outside McEwan Hall