Assessment benchmarking: Accumulating and accelerating institutional know-how for best practice


  • Denise Whitelock The Open University
  • Simon Cross The Open University


Benchmarking offers a comprehensive way of measuring current practice in an institution whilst also gauging achievement against external sources. Although e-learning has been benchmarked with a number of universities in the UK and abroad no one to date has tackled the area of assessment which is now becoming of more concern with the advent of e-assessment. This paper describes the construction of a set of benchmarking measures/indicators and the outcome of early pilots which combine data from a survey instrument of these measures with semi-structured interviews. The findings indicate that the benchmark measures this project has identified can form a solid foundation for benchmarking and that a mixed-methods approach built around a comprehensive and robust core of benchmark measures can have value to institutions not just in external benchmarking but also in internal reviews. It can also assist with setting baselines, exploring the student experience, providing staff with data meaningful to their role and professional development together with supporting a continuous improvement trajectory.