Concept Note

Click here to view the SoTL Concept Note in isiXhosa


The impact of the pandemic of the last two years has presented an opportunity to pause and think how we might move teaching, learning and assessment (TLA) in higher education forward. We now have an opportunity to think creatively and innovatively about TLA. In terms of assessment, we need to re-imagine how we assess students’ capabilities for them to become citizens who can take their rightful place in society. We also need to interrogate whether our assessment practices are aligned to the SU Assessment Policy (2021)[1] principles and provisions.

The new SU Assessment Policy (2021) recognises that assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching. The policy emphasises a balanced approach to assessment practices aimed at developing students’ enquiring minds as lifelong learners who can judge their own performance and that of others. One way of serving this end-goal is to enable and nurture students who can self- and peer-assess their own work and that of others, in line with the principles of sound and fair assessment. Such an approach will ensure that student learning is promoted by supporting students to self-monitor and check their own learning, and to reflect on learning experiences, rather than emphasising a one-sided focus on marks.  In line with movements in HE towards learning-centred teaching (Barr & Tagg, 1995)[2] through formative assessment and its potential to transform assessment practices (Torrance, 2012)[3], there has been an increase in critiques of the continued emphasis on summative assessment practices (Boud 2000[4]; Knight, 2002[5]; Schuwirth & van der Vleuten, 2011[6]; Harrison et al., 2017[7]). Summative assessments are part of the culture of assessment of most HE institutions, which relates to deeply engrained beliefs about what is valued in assessment. Once stuck in this summative assessment paradigm (Harrison et al., 2017), it is difficult to change the culture, even when evidence of the contrary is presented.

The move to Emergency Remote Teaching, Learning and Assessment (ERTLA) in 2020 and Augmented Remote Teaching, Learning and Assessment (ARTLA) in 2021 was a catalyst for change for some lecturers, allowing assessment practices that focused more on ‘assessment for learning’. Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone and there has been a major call at SU for the return of invigilated sit-down assessments, with concerns around academic integrity as the underlying driver. This potentially highlights the dominant summative assessment culture at SU.

We therefore need to continuously interrogate our assessment practices to support a transformative student experience. The annual SU Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Conference offers a platform where we can build on the 2021 conference theme, “(Y)our assessment matters” and engage in discussions around “Assessment matters: Re-imagining assessment culture and practices for a transformative student experience”.


The conference offers a space for academics to reflect on and address all aspects of TLA at SU in an open, supportive and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. It provides a platform where academics can:

  • share good practices, research findings and innovative ideas about TLA
  • reflect on and debate about TLA methods, trends and goals within the current context
  • celebrate TLA achievements


Conference dates are  24 – 26 October 2022

Registrations open Abstracts due Registrations close
13 April 2022 31 July 2022 21 October 2022 at 15:00


“Assessment matters: Re-imagining assessment culture and practices for a transformative student experience”




24 October 2022
(face-to-face workshops at the Devon Valley Hotel)

25 October 2022
(online on MS Teams)

26 October 2022
(online on MS Teams)

Pre-conference workshops


Keynote Panel

Conference presentations

Keynote Speaker

Conference presentations

Closing Panel

Announcement of Prize-winning presentations

Presentation streams:

  • Research
  • Innovation
  • Reflection
  • PREDAC Posters


  • Keynote Panel: A panel of 3 national scholars (tbc)
  • Keynote Speaker: Prof Paul Ashwin
    Professor of Higher Education, Head of Department and Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, Lancaster University


Conference registrations via ConfTool at


We are looking forward to the 15th offering of the SU SoTL Conference, where staff will again have the opportunity to share research findings, innovative ideas and reflections about teaching, learning and assessment in a presentation so that we can all learn together and make teaching, learning and assessment at SU in a post Covid-19 era the best it can be.


Compiled by:
Anthea H M Jacobs, 2022 SU SoTL Conference Convenor



[1] Stellenbosch University (SU). (2021). Assessment Policy.
[2] Barr, R.B. & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning – A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, 27(6): 12-25.
[3] Torrance, H. (2012). Formative assessment at the crossroads: conformative, deformative and transformative assessment. Oxford Review of Education, 38(3): 323-342.
[4] Boud, D. (2000). Sustainable assessment: Rethinking assessment for the learning society. Studies in Continuing Education, 22(2): 151-167.
[5] Knight, P.T. (2002). Summative assessment in higher education: practices in disarray. Studies in Higher Education, 27(3): 275-286.
[6] Schuwirth, L.W.T. & van der Vleuten, C.P.M. (2011). Programmatic assessment: from assessment of learning to assessment for learning. Medical Teacher, 33(6): 478-485.
[7] Harrison, C.J., Könings, K.D., Schuwirth, L.W.T., Wass, V. & van der Vleuten, C.P.M. (2017). Changing the culture of assessment: the dominance of the summative assessment paradigm. BMC Medical Education, 17(73): 1-14.