Assessment school of history heritage and society
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Assessment – School of History, Heritage and Society. Presented by Professor Alan Farley 31 March 2006. Good Assessment Issues.

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Assessment – School of History, Heritage and Society

Presented by Professor Alan Farley

31 March 2006

Good Assessment Issues

The current focus of assessment in higher education is to link assessment tasks with anticipated learning outcomes and criteria of competence. According to Boud (in Armstrong and Conrad, 1995, pp780), good assessment:

  • Is designed to assess a broader range of student abilities, e.g. problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication, working in groups

  • Along with feedback shapes learning in positive and negative ways, e.g. promotes rote learning or learning in depth

Good Assessment Issues

  • Involves students in the assessment process and develops students' capacity to monitor their own performance, e.g. by understanding the criteria used in assessment

  • Pays more attention to self-assessment as a result of concern for reflective and self-sustained learning

  • Assesses not only what students know but also what they can do

Good Assessment Issues

  • Should reflect desired learning outcomes and have a beneficial effect on the learning process

  • Should promote search for meaning and understanding, and self-directed and independent learning

  • Should provide contextualised, complex challenges, not fragmented and static bits or tasks

Good Assessment Issues

  • Should expand learning opportunities to include active collaboration with others leading to assessment of projects produced by groups of students (Mentkowski et al. 199l ).

As Ramsden, (1992 p. 191) states:

  • Uniformity of assessment methods makes comparisons superficially easy but forces students into a situation where they may not be able to display what they have learned and where there are often hidden rewards for conformity rather than originality.

Alternative Forms of Assessment

  • Traditional Exam Under Controlled Conditions

  • Essays

  • Multiple-Choice Tests

  • Portfolio Assessment

  • Group Assessment

  • On-line Assessment

  • Peer Assessment

Alternative Forms of Assessment

Assessing Critical Reflective Thought

  • Use an interview in relation to a critical incident (which has an impact on the student), drawing on student’s experience in the workplace;

  • Use of written description, analysis and reflection on critical incident;

  • Critical evaluation of research literature;

Alternative Forms of Assessment

Assessing Critical Reflective Thought

  • Critique of topic of current debate and/or community interest; and

  • Reflective journal writing.

  • Simulated interview with client,

  • Research poster exercise

Questions to Ask Yourself About Assessment

  • Are the assessment requirements clearly stated at the outset?

  • Have you spelled out the criteria by which the assessment tasks will be judged?

  • Are the assessment methods consistent with the objectives of the unit?

Questions to Ask Yourself About Assessment

  • Do they act to encourage quality learning throughout the study of a subject (e.g. concerned with meaning and understanding) and discourage shallow approaches to learning (such as short-term memorizing for tests)?

Questions to Ask Yourself About Assessment

  • Do they focus on key concepts and ideas that students should be able to deal with?

  • Do they positively reinforce learning rather than result in negative attitudes to learning?

  • Do the assessment items adequately sample the content of the subject?

Questions to Ask Yourself About Assessment

  • Is the total assessment load reasonable?

  • Is the weighting of the various assessment items appropriate?

  • When more than one marker is involved, are adequate steps taken to ensure consistency of standards amongst the markers?

Useful reference sites on assessment

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