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INCLUSIVE ASSESSMENT IN THE SCIENTIFIC CURRICULA Dr Kimberley Bennett Mr Sebastian Stevens.

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Presentation on theme: "INCLUSIVE ASSESSMENT IN THE SCIENTIFIC CURRICULA Dr Kimberley Bennett Mr Sebastian Stevens."— Presentation transcript:

1 INCLUSIVE ASSESSMENT IN THE SCIENTIFIC CURRICULA Dr Kimberley Bennett Mr Sebastian Stevens

2 Who’s who?  Dr Kimberley Bennett  Lecturer/ Deputy program leader in Marine Biology  Module lead ‘Biology and Physiology of Marine Vertebrates’  Mr Sebastian Stevens  Associate Lecturer  Research Assistant

3 Introduction  Improving inclusivity through the use essays as summative assessment  Testing the benefits of formative peer review in the scientific curricula  Encouraging all students to engage with essay writing support

4 What’s the problem with essays?  Some students at third year still struggle with:  Introduction (Start broad and narrow down)  Constructing arguments  Providing critical review  Concluding effectively  Reading widely to provide a balanced review

5 Why does the problem arise?  Students were getting no ‘feedforward’ (inc from peers )  Students want formative feedback across programme/ earlier in academic year  Essays may benefit a limited number of thinking styles

6 Inclusivity and thinking styles  People have different thinking styles (Sternberg 1994)  Traditional assessment and teaching methods benefit particular thinking styles  Flexibility within an assessment and varying type of support available should benefit more students by involving a greater range of thinking styles

7 Essays benefit specific thinking styles Requirements Corralling information Working alone Organising tasks and logic of argument Synthesis and analysis Seeing the big picture Focussing on detail Works well for students who are:  Conservative (prefer traditional approaches)  Internal (Like to work alone)  Local (deal with details, specifics and concrete examples)  Global ( see generalities)  Executive (like to be given structure)

8 What can we do about it?  Maximise creativity, ownership and motivation  Give wide choice in titles  Make titles flexible  Maximise creativity, ownership and motivation  Students must write an article for publication  Mimic academic peer review process  Provide support to help students with structure  Provide support that targets wider range of thinking styles  Liberal (prefer new approaches)  External (prefer interaction)  Legislative (like to be creative)  Judicial (like evaluation)

9  Teaching Fellowship Award (PedRIO)  Formative Peer Review  Writing Workshops  Questionnaire  Voluntary The Research

10 What was the assessment?  Review article on a ‘group’ of their choice in one of up to 4 areas:  cardiovascular adaptation;  conservation status;  nutritional requirements and energy balance  human impacts  Peer review  Sign up in term 1/ Hand in term 2

11  Discursive  Help with structure of essay writing using examples and specific tips and tricks e.g.:  Start with why we care  Use short sentences  End introduction defining aims and scope  Peer review  What is the role of a peer reviewer?  What ‘counts’ as helpful feedback  How should you respond? Writing Workshop

12 Participation in the study All students in the study (N=36) Peer Review only Writing Workshop only Both Peer Review and Writing Workshop Questionnaire only

13 Results: peer review was helpful Of the students who took part in the peer review process:  85.7% received helpful suggestions to improve their essay  96.4% felt that they received fair comments on their work  92.1% felt that receiving peer feedback was helpful  92.8% felt that giving peer feedback was helpful  87.0% of students who took part in peer review saw improvement between their submitted draft and the final essay.

14 Results: the workshop was helpful Of the students who took part in the writing workshop:  100% felt that they could now better structure their essays  100% felt that they could now write a better introduction  96.3% felt that they could now write a better conclusion  96.3% felt that they could now evaluate and critique literature more effectively.

15 Impact on Summative Results  Crude measure with many underlying factors  Correlation between attendance at one or more support interventions and a rise in assignment grade  Strong influence of previous high achievers taking part in the support interventions, with more lower achievers disengaged.

16 So why didn’t some students participate?  Of the 74 students in the cohort, 27% did not participate in any of the interventions  7% (N=5) of the non participators completed a questionnaire and explained why they did not participate  20% (N=19) did not participate or tell us why

17 Qualitative Survey Responses: Identified barriers to participation  Time management  Early hand in for peer review  Too many hand in’s at one time  Lack of confidence in providing feedback  Lack of confidence in feedback from a classmate  Some students felt that they only wanted feedback from a professional

18 Solutions: overcoming barriers  Time management on the part of students  Earlier sign up and peer review deadline to give more time  Avoid deadlines from other modules  Lack of confidence in ability to provide feedback  Explain the value and importance of peer feedback and demonstrate satisfaction scores for last year  Provide extra support in giving feedback: workshop with Learning Development earlier in academic year  Lack of confidence in feedback from a classmate  Show improved final grades for those students that have had their draft essay reviewed by a peer  Supporting students to give feedback that provides suggestions for improvement

19 Targeting the ‘unknowns’  Our interventions help students with external, judicial, executive and legislative thinking styles  Students who are more internal and conservative may dislike the approaches offered  Additional help is made available:  List of alternative sources ie. ‘writing café; learning development one-to-one tutorials  Q and A forum on Moodle

20 Conclusion Students said that the workshop and peer review were worthwhile and should be embedded earlier in their programme The interventions appear to positively impact on summative results Students receive formative feedback (feed forward) in line with university policy and inclusivity agenda How can we target students who don’t participate but don’t tell us why? (make it compulsory; e-feedback?)

21 THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

22 N Average Essay Percentage (Std.dev) Average Essay Grade Cohort Participators (11.28)B Both Peer review and Workshop (11.86)B Workshop Only (10.46)B- Peer Review Only558.2 (6.02)C+ Cohort Non- Participators (12.79)C Total (12.55)B- Students who took part in something had an average grade of 64.75% Students who took part in nothing had an average grade of 54.25% The average difference in essay grade between taking part in both peer review and the writing workshops compared with taking part in nothing was 11.72%


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