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Assessing Student Learning

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1 Assessing Student Learning
principles and practices of effective student assessment A workshop developed for Bilkent University by Gordon Suddaby Gordon Suddaby -

2 Rationale Students can, with difficulty escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot (by definition if they wish to graduate) escape the effects of poor assessment. (Baud, p.35 in Knight, 1995) Assessment is at the heart of student learning. (Brown and Knight, 1994). Gordon Suddaby -

3 An assessment riddle! Why do we measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, and cut with an axe? Gordon Suddaby -

4 Why we assess? Crooks identified 8 reasons: Selection and placement
Motivation Focusing learning Consolidating and structuring learning Guiding and correcting learning Determining readiness to proceed Certifying and grading achievement Evaluating teaching Crooks, 1988. Gordon Suddaby -

5 Assessment as part of learning
There are two critical factors: Formative approaches to assessment Summative approaches to assessment Scriven, 1967. Gordon Suddaby -

6 Formative assessment Biggs and Tang note:
Formative assessment is provided during learning, telling students how well they are doing and what might need improving (p.97) In formative assessment, the results are used for feedback during learning. Students and teachers both need to know how learning is proceeding. Formative feedback may operate to both improve the learning of individual students and to improve the teaching itself. (p.163) Gordon Suddaby -

7 Assumptions related to formative assessment
It is a powerful teaching and learning activity It promotes growth It encourages autonomy Factors: Involves intrinsic motivation Encourages reflection Requires prompt feedback Requires clear criteria Requires shared understanding Gordon Suddaby -

8 What formative assessment activities do you use?
I would like to record these on the board Gordon Suddaby -

9 Summative Assessment Biggs and Tang
...summative [assessment is provided] after learning, informing how well students have learned what they were supposed to learn (p.97) In summative assessment, the results are used to grade students at the end of a course or to accredit at the end of a programme. Summative assessment is carried out after a teaching episode has concluded....That result, the grade, is final. (p.164). Gordon Suddaby -

10 Assumptions related to summative assessment
Represents reliable and valid sample and judgement Its purpose is explicit Factors It is taken seriously It grades and ranks It sums up achievement It is an endpoint Gordon Suddaby -

11 Activity: 8 Who are assessment “stakeholders”?
Identify an ‘end user’ of your assessment other than the student? What sort of information does that user need? Is that what they get? How do you know? Compare that information with that which the student wants/gets? Discuss with colleagues sitting nearby and compare differences and similarities Gordon Suddaby -

12 The assessment stakeholders”?
The student Other students Teachers Mentors Employers University management Funders ... Gordon Suddaby -

13 Some assessment issues
If we are not careful our assessment practices may; Tend to focus on what is easiest to assess/mark Influence students approach to learning (surface) Encourage a focus on grades Encourage students to seek cues Not reveal misconceptions Encourage students to focus ONLY on what is assessed Gordon Suddaby -

14 Some principles of effective assessment
Assessment should foster improvement Students need self-assessment skills We should only assess what really matters Assessment should enhance motivation Assessment should encourage cooperation Assessment shouldn’t be a burden Think about assessment ‘due dates’ Think about flexibility! Requirements need to be explicit Crooks, 1993 How do your assessment practices measure up against these? Gordon Suddaby -

15 Activity 10: The big lie It doesn’t matter what I think, write what you believe! Or should this be? It doesn’t matter what is said or written, just make sure you learn the stuff that will be assessed! Remember, the students are always looking for cues and clues!!! So make a note of the messages you give students? Gordon Suddaby -

16 Activity 11 Task specification
Make a paper dart from the paper supplied completing the task within 3 minutes Stipulation The dart must fly The dart must look like a paper dart Gordon Suddaby -

17 Assessment criteria Now:
Develop a schedule for marking and grading the finished product Gordon Suddaby -

18 Assessment criteria Now:
Develop a schedule for marking and grading the finished product Give your dart to a colleague to assess using their assessment schedule (you will mark another colleagues dart using your schedule) Mark 2 other colleagues darts using your schedule Compare grades What comments can you make about the marking process? Gordon Suddaby -

19 Issues What assumptions have been made in relation to this task?
What were the difficulties encountered in carrying out the task? What would have made the task more do-able? What difficulties were there in assessing the outcomes? Gordon Suddaby -

20 Assumptions You know what a dart is and looks like
You have some knowledge of dart-making You know what the assessor is looking for Everyone has the same perceptions of ‘standards’ i.e. There is an understanding of the assessment criteria Gordon Suddaby -

21 Seven Principles of good feedback
From the conceptual model and the research literature on formative assessment it is possible to identify some broad principles of good feedback practice. A provisional list might include the following seven. Facilitates the development of self assessment (reflection) in learning. Encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning. Helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards expected). Provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance. Delivers high quality information to students about their learning. Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem. Provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching. From; Juwah, Macfarlane-Dick, Matthew, Nicol, Ross and Smith for the Higher Education Academy Gordon Suddaby -

22 Examples of criteria Appearance Flying ability Paper usage Shape
Decoration Distance flown Size Complexity ... Gordon Suddaby -

23 Formative assessment Using assessment to improve learning.
It is assessment provided during the teaching process. Strongly linked to processes of evaluating own teaching Gordon Suddaby -

24 Guiding principles Effective Assessment should:
Promote and reward desired outcomes Distinguish between essentials and extras Recognise workload implications Reflect consistency of standards Communicate requirements to students Provide effective feedback Combine marks with care Give weight to professional judgement Crooks, 1993. Gordon Suddaby -

25 Levels of assessment criteria
Implicit to the tutor (I know one when I see one!) Known to the tutor, but not revealed to the student Revealed to the student, but what counts as evidence isn’t! Criteria and examples of what counts as evidence revealed to the students Gordon Suddaby -

26 How do the students know what is important?
Clarify criteria Tell the students what is important in the beginning, as you teach it, and at the end. Tell them what is important when you set your assignments Tell them why you are giving them a particular assignment Tell them what the marks will be awarded for Gordon Suddaby -

27 Don’t be afraid to use a variety of approaches
Tests Assignments Case Studies Projects Journals Orals (vivas) Seminars Posters Learning contracts Debates and presentations Artifacts/products Lab work Using a digital presentation Clinical observation Workbooks Portfolios Examinations Open Book Exercises Reports Simulations/role Plays Scenarios Field work Gordon Suddaby -

28 Reflecting on assessment
Do you provide/develop clear, explicit criteria for your own courses? Is there a performance component associated with the criteria? Are you clear as to what constitutes evidence that indicates the criteria have been met? Are the students aware of this? What additional information would help your students do a better job? What questions remain in your mind? Gordon Suddaby -

29 Aligning assessment and learning
“From our students’ point of view, assessment always defines the actual curriculum” , (Ramsden, 1992), its the tail that wags the dog!!!! - the term used to describe this is ‘backwash’. Gordon Suddaby -

30 Constructive Alignment
A concept developed by Biggs Constructive because it is based on Constructivist theory i.e reflects Shuell’s statement that; “What the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does” (Shuell, 1986) Alignment demonstrates that the intended learning outcome, the teaching and teaching activity, and the assessment are all aligned Gordon Suddaby -

31 Designing constructively aligned teaching and assessment
Describe the intended learning outcome in the form of a verb (learning activity), its object (the content) and specify the context and standard to be attained Create a learning environment using appropriate teaching/learning activities that address the verb and therefore are likely to bring about the outcome Use assessment tasks that contain that verb thus enabling judgment using rubrics as to how well students performances meet criteria Transform these judgments into standard grading criteria Biggs and Tang, pp Gordon Suddaby -

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