Assessing students unfamiliar with assessment practices in Australian higher education. Australian higher education has assessment practices that are quite different from assessment practices in some other international settings.
An ‘assessment briefing’ to communicate requirements are quite different from assessment practices in some other international settings.
An ‘assessment debriefing’ to clarify requirements one-to-one consultations, students should be encouraged to make use of the language and learning support services.
Providing feedback disheartened if they do not do as well as they thought they might have in assignments or exams.
Overcoming six assessment challenges for students unfamiliar with assessment practices
1. Lack of local cultural knowledge
2. Unintentional cheating
3. Tutorial participation
4. Group work
5. English language skills
6. Oral presentations
1. Lack of local cultural knowledge with assessment practices
2. Unintentional cheating with assessment practices
3. Tutorial participation with assessment practices
A few suggestions to encourage participation: comment is likely to be useful for students unaccustomed to the conventions for group discussions
Make the expectation of participation clear and unambiguous — let students know what, exactly, participation entails.
Use ‘icebreakers’ for the first few weeks to get the students used to talking to each other and create a relaxed atmosphere.
Learn the students’ names — this will personalise interactions and encourage communication.
Use open-ended questions and explain there is no right or wrong answer (where appropriate) — remember to give students time to answer.
Ensure you show you value all answers. This can be done by non-verbal signals (for example, a nod or smile).
Use the ‘think-pair-share’ technique, also called the ‘pyramid’ technique.
Use ‘buzz groups’. Ask small groups of two or three students to undertake a mini-task or brief discussion that will take a few minutes only.
Keep in mind that for many international students, being asked to formulate and articulate their opinions, especially if these are required to be analytical or critical, is a challenging experience. Doing so in front of others, including a highly respected teacher, while unaware of and unaccustomed to the conventions of group discussion and while using a non-native language makes this an uncomfortable and unsettling experience.
4. Group work asked to formulate and articulate their opinions, especially if these are required to be analytical or critical, is a challenging experience.
5. English language skills asked to formulate and articulate their opinions, especially if these are required to be analytical or critical, is a challenging experience.
6. Oral presentations their written language from the appropriate university service.