Take a few minutes to think about this term. In a couple or sentences write your understanding of the meaning of this term OR write a few questions you have. Share your ideas with your neighbour.
‘We believe that assessment literacy … involves a combination of knowledge, skills and competencies … just as being literate enables one to read and appreciate … Jane Austen’s novels, so being assessment literate equips one with an appreciation of the purpose and processes of assessment which enables one to engage deeply with assessment standards, to make a choice about which skills or which area of knowledge to apply, to appreciate which are/are not appropriate to a particular task and why.’ ‘…we believe that assessment literacy is an enabler … once a student starts to become assessment literate, they are in a position to progress, increase their learning and perform more effectively.’ (Price et al 2013, p10-11)
Guidelines Instructions Assessment criteria Example assignments Feedback (oral and written)
Assessment criteria is written in a particular discourse, for example: ‘Work of excellent quality with a very clear structure and fluently written.’ What would you understand by ‘a very clear structure’ and ‘fluently written’. Work with your neighbour and brainstorm some words/phrases to unpack this concept. From http://moodle.roehampton.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/6168/mod_resource/content/0/Assessment_Criteria-Business_School_2011-12.pdf [accessed 7th January 2013]http://moodle.roehampton.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/6168/mod_resource/content/0/Assessment_Criteria-Business_School_2011-12.pdf
‘By a criterion is meant a property or characteristic that is useful in the context of quality and quality determinations. Some criteria (such as word length and referencing conventions for a written piece) are straightforward with sharp boundaries. For these, it is relatively easy to tell when some condition has been met or a rule broken. Other criteria, probably the majority, and including some with disarmingly simple labels, are considerably more abstract. This makes them problematic for students until they become competent users of them, which often requires sophistication and fineness in judgement. These abstract criteria are concepts that do not have sharp boundaries, so they have to become known in the same ways other abstract concepts are formed by individuals and shared in social or professional contexts.’ (Sadler, 2010,544- 545)’ Sadler, D. Royce(2010) 'Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal', Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35: 5, 535 — 550
‘The sleeper issue with respect to criteria as concepts is that particular terms may mean different things to different teachers, and that these differences remain largely unexplored.’ ‘Although academics teaching different courses might agree on a fixed list of criteria, vigorous debate can follow an attempt to formalise the interpretations of those same criteria in a way that enables consistent use by all teachers and assessors. Consistency in the interpretation of key terms may not pose a problem for individual higher education academics or course- teaching teams, but it does for students, when they are faced with interpretations that differ significantly from teacher to teacher and from course to course.’ (Sadler 2010, 545)
‘Much staff time and effort goes into producing assessment feedback, but very little effort is made to examine its effectiveness. … the feedback process is considered limited in its effectiveness because, despite evidence of students’ thirst for feedback (Hyland 2000; O’Donovan, Price, and Rust 2001), students do not necessarily read their feedback (Hounsell 1987) or, if they do, they may not understand or use it (Gibbs and Simpson 2004; Lea and Street 1998; McCune 2004).’200020011987200419982004 (Price et al, 2012, 277)
Written feedback is one way communication from tutor to student (monologic). (Lillis 2003) Written feedback is transmissive (telling): ‘The argument in this article is that the fundamental problem lies less with the quality of feedforward and feedback than with the assumption that telling, even detailed telling, is the most appropriate route to improvement in complex learning. Learning from being told is flawed as a general strategy because the conditions for the statements to make intimate connection with the student work (with a view to future work) are rarely satisfied. […] Put simply, to depend on telling (as embodied in feedforward and feedback) as the main vehicle for promoting student improvement is to rely on the information transmission model for the development of significant assessment concepts.’ (Sadler, 2010, 548)
Students don’t collect it. In pairs – Why don’t students collect feedback? What’s your experience and what remedies have you tried?
Students become dependent on tutors to tell them how to improve. They become ‘cue-seekers’, ‘hunting for hints’ to maximise grades. (Yorke 2003)
Work in your groups. Read text 1 and make any comments your feel relevant. Compare your comments with other members of your group.
Now look at text 2 and make any comments your feel relevant. Compare your comments with other members of your group. Do the same with text 3.
Look back over your understanding of the meaning of assessment literacy OR the few questions you wrote. What would you add/develop. Take a few minutes to expand on what you wrote. Share your thoughts within your group.
What could you do in the courses you teach or support to help develop students’ assessment literacy?
Lillis, T. (2003) Student Writing as 'Academic Literacies': Drawing on Bakhtin to Move from Critique to Design. Language and Education,17, no.3: 192-207. Nicol, D. 2011 Developing students' ability to construct feedback. Presented at 8th Annual Enhancement Themes Conference, 2-3 March, Heriot Watt University. Available at www.reap.ac.uk/peer/project.aspx.www.reap.ac.uk/peer/project.aspx Price et al (2013) Assessment Literacy. Oxford: The Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development. Sadler, D. Royce (2010) 'Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal', Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35: 5, 535 — 550 Yorke, M. (2003) Formative assessment in higher education: Moves towards theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice. Higher Education, 45, 477-501.
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