The ways in which we assess students, and the nature of the feedback that we provide when preparing them for these assessments, are central to the success of a programme.

The TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students Through Assessment) process enables you to take a step-back and check whether your current assessment approaches are the best fit for your programme goals, and consider how the time invested in providing feedback can be best used.

What does TESTA involve?

TESTA takes a detailed look at the patterns of assessment and feedback across a programme and combines this with data from student questionnaires and focus groups to build up a comprehensive picture of how students experience assessment during their time in Bristol. We produce a written report that summarises the TESTA findings and discuss this with staff at a debrief meeting that lasts about 60-90 minutes.

TESTA TESTA - a personal perspective

In this short video Dr Irina Lazar, Programme Director in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, talks about her experience with TESTA

I would love to see something like TESTA become a regular component of the landscape at Bristol…I think that it’s something that is really worthwhile and you’ll find support for it.

Programme Director, Faculty of Engineering

Have a question?

Get in touch with the academic-development-team@bristol.ac.uk

The main steps in the TESTA process are:

  • Data gathering: a discussion between the programme director and members of the curriculum enhancement team (90 min).
  • Student questionnaire (administered to the whole cohort by the curriculum enhancement team in a timetabled teaching session – 15 min).
  • Student focus group (run by the curriculum enhancement team - 60 min)
  • Staff debrief session (60-90 min)

TESTA Toolkit

A useful resource hosted on Blackboard One-hour TESTA


  • Who should attend the staff debrief session? The programme director, the exams officer, unit leads, the student administration manager or representative and as many staff who teach on or administer the programme as you can manage!
  • What happens in the staff debrief? We will present an analysis of the data collected during the TESTA process and comments provided by the students in the focus groups, support discussion, and suggest proven tactics to help address any issues identified. The debrief sessions often spark wide-ranging discussions about assessment and teaching on the programme, and the more people that attend the session the wider and richer the discussion will be.
  • What’s the outcome? The TESTA process helps you to focus your summative assessment where it is most needed and to achieve an appropriate balance of assessment and feedback across the programme.
  • What next? If your new vision for assessment and feedback prompts you to look at your programme with new eyes a Curriculum Festival is an ideal next step.

I’ve been a teaching-focused academic for my entire career and I found it a breath of fresh air to actually be able to seriously devote time to those discussions, and suddenly have not just a process but a PVC behind it.

Programme Director, Faculty of Arts
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