Professor Berry O'Donovan

PhD, MBA, CertHE

Professor Assessment and Learning

Oxford Brookes Business School

Berry O'Donovan


I am a Professor of Assessment and Learning, a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  I have been centrally involved in a number of institutional pedagogy projects at Oxford Brookes as well as national projects funded by Advance HE/Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE), BA Leverhulme and the Office for Students.  My research into assessment and learning, project management and teaching practice comes together to give a coherent focus on enhancing the experience of students at Oxford Brookes and beyond. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • The Business and Management Synoptic (undergraduate honours module) BMGT6002 
  • Synoptic Research Project (postgraduate) BMGT7049

Teaching Interests: assessment and feedback; synoptic learning; intellectual development; student belonging; sense of community.


I supervise students undertaking the MSc Synoptic Research Project in business and management. My external examination of doctoral work has been in the field of assessment and feedback.


Since my first publication in 2001, my long-standing research focus has been on student assessment and feedback with a particular focus on assessment as a socially situated practice, with twin spotlights on students’ assessment literacy and academic standards. I continue to research in these areas but as assessment integrates many aspects of the student academic experience over the years I have expanded into two related areas - the intellectual development (personal epistemological development) of students and assessment across disciplines. 

Research impact

My collaborative research involving a reconceptualisation of marking criteria and assessment standards has had international and national impact. 

In Australia it influenced the ‘Achievement Matters’ project in which the assessment standards used in HE accounting courses have been calibrated across Australia, led by Professor Mark Freeman and funded by the Australian Business Dean’s Council (ABDC).

In the UK this research underpins a national 5-year Degree Standards Project (2016-2022) led and administered by Advance HE and funded by the Office for Students. The twin focus of this project is the professional development of external examiners across the UK and the calibration of academic standards within HE subject communities. Currently, over 3,000 external examiners are certified as having completed a blended or distance-learning development course.  As part of the Degree Standards Project, calibration of assessment standards has been piloted in Veterinary Science, Geography, Music, Chemistry, Psychology, Business and Management and a North West consortium of institutions focusing on Law and Sports Science. 


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • National Teaching Fellow 2009
  • Principal Fellow HEA 2012
  • Brookes Team Teaching Fellow 2014
  • 2014: International Visiting Scholar, Australian Business Deans Council




  • June 2021: Feedback for learning: strategies and practices that enhance the use value of assessment feedback. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.  
  • October 2019: What makes good feedback good? Enhancing student learning from, and satisfaction with, assessment feedback.   Advance HE. York. 
  • June 2019: Assessment and feedback: beyond space and timing. University of Bristol Education and Pedagogy Conference.
  • June 2019: Exploring assessment literacy and its use value in practice. University of Gloucester, Festival of Learning.
  • May 2019: Improving student satisfaction and engagement with feedback: 5 shifts in practice. Newcastle University Business School. 
  • July 2017: Exploring assessment literacy and its use value in practice. Lancaster University 
  • April 2017: The tyranny of student satisfaction within business and management education. Chartered Association of Business Schools, Learning and Teaching and Student Experience Conference. 
  • March 2016: Enhancing student satisfaction with, and learning from, assessment and feedback. Bristol Business School. 


  • Advance HE 2017 to date
  • Kent University 2020 to date
  • Coventry University 2012