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Tansy Jessop

Tansy Jessop takes up her position as Professor of Research Informed Teaching within SLTI on 3 May 2016. 
Professor Tansy Jessop

Prior to this, Tansy was Head of Learning and Teaching at the University of Winchester, leading the TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) research project on programme-wide assessment and feedback. TESTA is an evidence-led change process which has been used in more than 50 UK universities, and in Australia, India and South Africa. It has helped programme teams to design assessment and feedback with a stronger focus on fostering student learning from assessment.

Through TESTA, Tansy developed an interest in curriculum design. She has designed and led a module on the Masters in L&T on Curriculum Design in HE. Tansy’s main research interests are assessment and feedback, student engagement and the use of technology to enhance learning.

She has chaired the steering group of REACT, a HEFCE funded project which seeks to widen participation in student engagement initiatives which are proven to bring academic benefits. Previously, she was project manager of a JISC funded project on using technology to enhance assessment and feedback (FASTECH). This ignited her passion for using blogging as a meaningful way to engage students to produce formative tasks.

Tansy started her career as a secondary school teacher in South Africa, completing a PhD on teacher development in rural KwaZulu-Natal. She maintains an interest in representation, narrative methodology and the pursuit of social justice following her PhD research. She has worked as a consultant for the HEA, UK universities, the British Council, the Department for International Development, and the Mandela Foundation. 


Book chapters

Jessop, T (in press) Assessment transformation through TESTA. In Carless, D. et al () Scaling up Assessment for Learning in Higher Education

Jessop, T. and Penny, A. (2008) A story behind a story: Developing Strategies for making sense of teacher narratives. In Harrison, B. (Ed.) Life Story Research. London. SAGE. 213-230 (Volume IV).

Journal articles

Jessop, T. and Maleckar, B. (2014) The influence of disciplinary assessment patterns on student learning: a comparative study. Studies in Higher Education. 

Ghazal, L., Gul, R., Hanzala, M., Jessop, T. and Tharani, A. (2014) Graduate Students' Perceptions of Written Feedback at a Private University in Pakistan. International Journal of Higher Education. 3:2.

Jessop, T., El Hakim, Y. and Gibbs, G. TESTA 2014: A way of thinking about assessment and feedback. Educational Developments 14:3.

Jessop, T., El Hakim, Y., and Gibbs, G. 2014. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: a large-scale study of students' learning in response to different programme assessment patterns. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(1). 73-88.

Jessop, T., McNab, N. And Gubby, L. 2012. Mind the gap: An analysis of how quality assurance procedures influence programme assessment patterns. Active Learning in Higher Education. 13(3) pp. 143-154. 

Jessop, T., Gubby, L. and Smith, A. 2012. Space frontiers for new pedagogies: a tale of constraints and possibilities. Studies in Higher Education. 37(2) 189-202.

Jessop, T., El Hakim, Y. and Gibbs, G. 2011. TESTA: Research Inspiring Change. Educational Developments 12(4) 12-16.

Jessop, T. and Williams, A. 2009. Equivocal Tales about racism, culture and identity. Teaching in Higher Education. 14(1) 93-104.

Williams,  A.  and Jessop,  T.  2007.  The creation of virtual communities in a primary initial teacher training programme. Journal of Education for Teaching, 33 (1). 71-82.

Harley, K. and Jessop, T. 2002. Evaluation in developing countries through the lens of the logical framework and INSSTEP Uganda: conversations. Perspectives in Education. 20(3) 119-131.

Jessop,  T.  2001.  Key ingredients in the search for social justice: A case study of 'best practice' in a Calcutta school. Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, 5 (1). 100-115.

Jessop,  T.  and Penny,  A.  1999.  A story behind a story: Developing strategies for making sense of teacher narratives. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice, 2 (3). 213-230.

Jessop,  T.  and Penny,  A.  1998.  Recovering Teacher Voice and Vision in the Narratives of South African and Gambian Teachers: Implications for Teacher Development Policy and Practice. International Journal of Education Development, 18. (5). 393-403.

Penny, A.J., Harley, K. and Jessop, T. (1996) Towards a language of possibility: critical reflection and mentorship in initial teacher education. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 2(1). 57-69.


Jessop, T. (2012) TESTA National Teaching Fellowship Project Final Report.

Hyland, P., Jessop, T.  et al. (2013) FASTECH Project Final Evaluation Report. 

Research interests

Narrative and case study research; social inclusion; assessment and feedback; curriculum theory; education in developing countries.

Funding awards

  • 314k Hefce Catalyst Fund REACT Bid (Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation) on Student Engagement 2015-17.
  • 20k British Council Knowledge Economy Partnership with two Indian universities to work on assessment and feedback together, based on TESTA. 2013-14
  • 190k JISC funded FASTECH project.
  • 200k HEA funded TESTA project.

Professional membership and consultancy

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham
  • Previous consultancy roles at UCL, Birmingham; University of New South Wales, Sydney; Loughborough; Roehampton; Strathclyde; Sheffield Hallam University; Edinburgh.

Journal reviewing

  • Editorial Board of the journal Active Learning in Higher Education.
  • Reviewer for Studies in Higher Education;
  • Reviewer for Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.


Keynotes and invited presentations

The perils and promise of personalising feedback. Invited speaker at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, 25 February 2016.

Flipping the Technology-Pedagogy Equation, Invited speaker at the University of Sussex. 15 December 2015.

​TESTA Masterclass. International Assessment in HE Conference 2015, Birmingham. 24 June 2015.

The Challenge of Feedback Design: Evidence, Principles, Action. Keynote at Southampton University Assessment Feedback Champions Conference. 29 April 2015.

Assessment for Connecting the Curriculum: taking a programme view. Keynote at UCL Teaching and Learning Conference. 13 April 2015.

From fragments to a full picture: Programme-level student experience of assessment. Keynote at Imperial College Education Day. 11 March 2015.

Dispelling myths about assessment and feedback: Evidence from TESTA (2009-14). Higher Education Policy Network, University of Sheffield, 8 December 2014.

Myths to Truths: Acting on evidence about student learning from assessment. Keynote at Assessment for Learning Symposium. Durban University of Technology, South Africa. 9 October 2014.

Dispelling myths and challenging traditions: Evidence about assessment from TESTA. Keynote at Higher Education Institutional Research (HEIR) Conference, Oxford Brookes University, 8 September 2014.

Zoom to wide-angle lens: a whole programme view of assessment and feedback. Guest webinar to Instructional Designers from five universities and colleges in Saskatchewan, Canada. 6 November 2013.

Improving student learning: a programme-level view. Guest speaker at 'Talking about teaching' series at University of Leeds. 24 September.

Improving student learning: a programme-wide view. Keynote at MAT Faculty L&T Day, University of Gloucestershire.

TESTA: an evidence-informed approach to programme-wide assessment and feedback. Guest speaker at Standing Conference on Academic Practice (SCAP) conference, 5 July 2013. Warwick University.

Improving programme-level assessment using an evidence-based approach. Keynote at the University of Greenwich SHIFT Learning and Teaching Conference. 3 July 2013.

The TESTA process: key ingredients in its spread to over 70 programmes in more than 20 universities. Presentation to the Heads of Educational Development Group, Woburn House London. 15 April 2013.

TESTA: an evidence informed approach to improving programme assessment. Keynote at Kingston University L&T day, 20 April 2012.

Appreciative Inquiry Workshop with NHS Health Professionals. 7 November 2011. University of Edinburgh.

TESTA to FASTECH: an evidence based approach to improving assessment and feedback. JISC Expert Session. JISC Annual Online Conference. 22 November 2011.

TESTA workshop, University of News South Wales, Australia. 1-3 September 2011.

Subject expertise

Education; social research methods; teacher development; assessment and feedback.

Supervision of research students

​Sabine Bohnacker Bruce (2009 - 2016 ) Church of England minister’s beliefs about other religions: A constructivist grounded theory approach. PhD.

Jo Batey (2012 - ) Expectancies, Marking and Feedback in Undergraduate Student Assessment. PhD

Jane Peacock (2013- ) Gypsy social identity in a settled community: narratives of inclusion and exclusion. EdD.

Dumisani Ndlovu (2011 - ) Overseas Trained Teachers in the UK: Narratives of Resilience, challenge and success.​ Ed.D.


Page last updated on Thursday 31 March 2016 at 11.34am.

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