Why Don’t We Want to Reduce Assessment?


  • Geraldine Mary O'Neill University College Dublin


Assessment, feedback, overload, programme approach.


Assessment overload in higher education has received much attention in recent years. Discussions around this topic can relate to both staff and students’ assessment load. However, the term ‘overload’ is complex and contested and the solution to reducing assessment load is not as simple it first seems. There can be a reluctance to reduce assessment. This short conversation piece explores this topic and presents some ongoing actions to address this challenge at national and institutional level.

Author Biography

Geraldine Mary O'Neill, University College Dublin

Geraldine O’Neill is an Associate Professor, Principal Fellow of the UK HEA and educational developer in UCD Teaching & Learning, University College Dublin, Ireland. In her time in UCD, she had supported and evaluated many institutional teaching, learning and assessment projects. She is current working on an institutional approach to programmme-focused assessment. In a 2-year secondment to the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, she coordinated the national  Assessment Enhancement theme (Assessment of, for and as Learning). A key aspect of this national project was the shift towards empowering students in the assessment process. She has a track record of research dissemination, with her focus in the last 15 years on professional development, curriculum design and assessment.