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A framework for ensuring the quality of student assessment Dr Duncan D Nulty Griffith Institute for Higher Education Associate Professor Sally Kift QUT.

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Presentation on theme: "A framework for ensuring the quality of student assessment Dr Duncan D Nulty Griffith Institute for Higher Education Associate Professor Sally Kift QUT."— Presentation transcript:

1 A framework for ensuring the quality of student assessment Dr Duncan D Nulty Griffith Institute for Higher Education Associate Professor Sally Kift QUT Faculty of Law

2 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A draft framework for ensuring the quality of student assessment Over simply, we know that our assessment of student learning will be of high quality if that assessment does whatever it is supposed to do. So, what is a high quality assessment strategy supposed to do?

3 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A high quality assessment strategy should be valid Assessment should relate directly to the desired learning outcomes. I mean that it really should … The relationship we claim that exists between learning outcomes and assessment should be meaningful and valuable - not superficial.

4 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should be reliable The same result should be derived no matter who does the assessing or when. Note that this dimension relates also to (a) transparency in assessment practice and to (b) fairness.

5 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 Transparency and fairness Students need to be able to determine for themselves what characterises high quality work - if they can't do this for themselves how will they work as autonomous professionals once they graduate? So, we should be open about the assessment criteria we use and the performance standards we apply for each criterion. This helps learners to learn for themselves - not only now but into their future. It also helps teachers to teach because they can be clearer about what they are trying to achieve. We should be careful about the use of a grading curve because it can be seen to be unfair if it allows people to get high grades for relatively poor work, or low grades for good work.

6 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q ass. strat. should be unambiguous in its intention The relationship between the assessment and the desired learning outcome should be obvious to the learners - ie they can see the relevance, purpose of each assessment activity.  they will be able to engage in it in a self-directed and purposeful manner. They will find it easier to be motivated about the task. They can be creative in drawing in associations from other areas of their knowledge and skill because they can actively hypothesise about inter-relationships. They can construct for themselves something bigger than simply doing the assignment piecemeal.

7 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should be authentic Assessment tasks should resemble tasks that students would have to do in a genuine work or life situation.  assessment tasks should be interesting, engaging and motivational. A sub-dimension here is to give some consideration to differences in cultural and social backgrounds and to personal and professional aspirations: what is relevant, interesting and engaging to one is not so to another.

8 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help students to learn. By being constructive. i.e. by relating appropriately (ie in the right ways and at the right times) to different stages of learning i. acquisition of information ii. assimilation/ transformation of information to form knowledge, understanding and to iii. application of understanding and principles iv. Analysis and evaluation to extend understanding and derive new principles Start small and simple, then build up.

9 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help students to learn. By relating well to different learning styles. i.e. i. aural ii. visual iii. kinaesthetic

10 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help students to learn. By relating well to different cognitive styles. i.e. i. divergers ii. convergers iii. assimilators iv. explorers

11 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help students to learn. By obliging students to engage in learning behaviours that bring about deep learning rather than surface learning. (Note: need to avoid "negative backwash": undesired effects on students behaviours caused by a failure to realise how they will respond to the total assessment strategy within their context.)

12 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help students to learn. By re-iteratively providing timely information about the students' learning. i.e. it should be both formative and summative: i. information of a diagnostic nature ii. information of a guiding nature iii. information of a summative nature

13 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q assessment strategy should help teachers to teach. By providing timely information about the teachers' teaching. i.e. it should be both formative and summative: i. information of a diagnostic nature ii. information of a guiding nature iii. information of a summative nature

14 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q ass. strat. should be manageable by both staff & students. the work-load associated with marking students work is within the capacity (in terms of skill and time) of the teaching staff available. the work-load associated with completing the work to be assessed is within the capacity (in terms of skill and time) of the students.

15 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q ass. strat. should provide equal opportunity. Assessment should provide equal opportunity to all students in a group. This means that the only factor limiting a student's performance should be their ability - not any variation in the opportunity for support we provide to one student relative to another. Note that this means that we can (and do) provide some students with more support that others. BUT, we should offer the same level of support to all of them.

16 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 A h-q ass. strat. Should be ethical. Well, I think this is obvious!

17 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 Assessment strategy as a whole, should: 1. allow students to demonstrate their learning in different ways 2. encourage students to learn in different ways 3. cohere together to make a systematic and complete assessment 4. be up-scaleable or down-scalable (relates to their administrative convenience)

18 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 Quality of student assessment checklist – see your handout. Is it valid? Is it reliable? Is it transparent and fair? Is it unambiguous in its intention? Is it authentic? Does it help students to learn by: Being constructive Relating well to different learning styles Relating well to different cognitive styles Obliging deep learning strategies Providing timely formative feedback to students Does it help teachers to teach by: Providing timely formative feedback to teachers Is it manageable? By students By staff Does it provide equal opportunity? Is it ethical? Does the whole assessment strategy: allow students to demonstrate their learning in different ways encourage students to learn in different ways cohere together to make a systematic and complete assessment Is the whole assessment strategy up and down-scalable?

19 © Duncan D Nulty and Sally Kift, 2003 Comments/Suggestions/ Questions?  e.mail:   e.mail:  You can contact me.


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