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Assessment in Lifelong Learning Dr Adam Longcroft School of Education & Lifelong Learning 5 July 2007 Reflecting on Practise.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment in Lifelong Learning Dr Adam Longcroft School of Education & Lifelong Learning 5 July 2007 Reflecting on Practise."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessment in Lifelong Learning Dr Adam Longcroft School of Education & Lifelong Learning 5 July 2007 Reflecting on Practise

2 CONTINUING EDUCATION IN CONTEXT: Who are We and What do We Do? CONTINUING EDUCATION IN CONTEXT: Who are We and What do We Do?

3 Continuing Education: Our Mission Continuing Education is committed to assisting UEA in fulfilling its stated aim of being a good regional citizen dedicated to enhancing the economic, social and cultural life of the region. Our mission is to provide part-time programmes which meet the personal and professional development needs of a diverse range of learners and employers. Though our role is primarily a regional one, the growth of on-line programmes enables us to increasingly engage with learners on an international basis.

4 Continuing Education: Our Region The Continuing Education programme at UEA provides higher education learning opportunities across Norfolk and Suffolk. The Continuing Education programme at UEA provides higher education learning opportunities across Norfolk and Suffolk. Key centres for Continuing Education courses include Norwich, Kings Lynn, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Diss, Cromer, Fakenham and Thetford. Key centres for Continuing Education courses include Norwich, Kings Lynn, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Diss, Cromer, Fakenham and Thetford. Continuing Education is also committed to overcoming the obstacles to participation in higher education in a predominantly rural region by running courses in smaller rural communities such as Weeting, Reepham, Blakeney, Sedgeford and Aldeburgh. Continuing Education is also committed to overcoming the obstacles to participation in higher education in a predominantly rural region by running courses in smaller rural communities such as Weeting, Reepham, Blakeney, Sedgeford and Aldeburgh.

5 Continuing Education: Our Programme The Continuing Education Programme includes a wide variety of courses and awards including: Day Schools (normally Saturdays) Day Schools (normally Saturdays) Short 5 & 10 credit taster units (one term or less) Short 5 & 10 credit taster units (one term or less) 20 credit units (normally two terms) 20 credit units (normally two terms) Certificate in Continuing Education (either one or two years) Certificate in Continuing Education (either one or two years) Certificate of Higher Education (two years) Certificate of Higher Education (two years) Diploma of Higher Education (four years total) Diploma of Higher Education (four years total) Diplomas (one year) Diplomas (one year) Foundation Degree Top-Ups (one year) Foundation Degree Top-Ups (one year) Most Units are Open Access!!

6 BA (Hons) Professional Studies (120 credits, Level 3)

7 Continuing Education: Subjects History History Archaeology Archaeology Art History Art History Architectural History Architectural History Medieval Studies Medieval Studies Landscapes Studies Landscapes Studies Science Science Literature Literature Classical Studies Classical Studies Sports Development Sports Development Creative Writing Creative Writing Philosophy Philosophy Politics Politics Professional Studies Professional Studies Film Studies Film Studies Cultural Studies Cultural Studies Counselling Skills Counselling Skills Music Music Psychology Psychology Emergency Medical Care Emergency Medical Care The Continuing Education Programme also covers a wide variety of subjects:

8 Continuing Education: Our Students Our student body spans a wide age range. Our youngest student is 18, our oldest (in 2005) was 87. Our student body spans a wide age range. Our youngest student is 18, our oldest (in 2005) was 87. Educational backgrounds vary from those with previous experience of higher education to those with no formal qualifications of any sort. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds from mid-career professionals to those going back into education after a number of years. Educational backgrounds vary from those with previous experience of higher education to those with no formal qualifications of any sort. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds from mid-career professionals to those going back into education after a number of years. They have varied motivations - career change, professional development, progression to HE, and/or pure pleasure. They have varied motivations - career change, professional development, progression to HE, and/or pure pleasure. An increasing number of students receive assistance with fees from their employers. An increasing number of students receive assistance with fees from their employers. Many are anxious about assessment; a small minority are resistant/hostile to it. Many are anxious about assessment; a small minority are resistant/hostile to it.

9 CONTINUING EDUCATION IN CONTEXT Accreditation: A Short Story CONTINUING EDUCATION IN CONTEXT Accreditation: A Short Story

10 The Move to Accreditation HEFCE Funding for Continuing Education courses changed dramatically in the early 1990s. A tradition of liberal adult education was superseded by a new regime of award-bearing and accredited programmes. By 1994/5 HEFCE funding was limited to accredited courses and units in which students undertook formal assessment. HEFCE Funding for Continuing Education courses changed dramatically in the early 1990s. A tradition of liberal adult education was superseded by a new regime of award-bearing and accredited programmes. By 1994/5 HEFCE funding was limited to accredited courses and units in which students undertook formal assessment. Continuing Education departments across the country needed to respond rapidly by developing an inclusive assessment strategy which was responsive to the needs of a diverse body of adult, mature learners and which also met HEFCE requirements. Continuing Education departments across the country needed to respond rapidly by developing an inclusive assessment strategy which was responsive to the needs of a diverse body of adult, mature learners and which also met HEFCE requirements. Most Continuing Education programmes span the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences – coming up with an approach to assessment which accommodated diversity presented CE practitioners with an enormous challenge. Some succeeded, some did not… Most Continuing Education programmes span the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences – coming up with an approach to assessment which accommodated diversity presented CE practitioners with an enormous challenge. Some succeeded, some did not…

11 Engaging Adult Learners in Assessment The assessment strategy adopted by Continuing Education was driven by the following: A recognition that the change to accredited provision was irreversible. A recognition that the change to accredited provision was irreversible. A belief that assessment was a GOOD thing, not a threat, since (if done well) it would enhance student learning. A belief that assessment was a GOOD thing, not a threat, since (if done well) it would enhance student learning. An acknowledgement that survival was dependent on maximising engagement in the assessment process. An acknowledgement that survival was dependent on maximising engagement in the assessment process. An acceptance that Staff Development would be KEY to success. An acceptance that Staff Development would be KEY to success. Respect for need for different requirements/strategies between disciplines – one size would not fit all. Respect for need for different requirements/strategies between disciplines – one size would not fit all. Recognition that assessment load per credit would need to be in keeping with expectations/norms in other Schools of Study. Recognition that assessment load per credit would need to be in keeping with expectations/norms in other Schools of Study.

12 Engaging Adult Learners in Assessment The assessment strategy adopted by Continuing Education was driven by the following: A Concern that assessments should be seen to be robust and fit for purpose – in particular they should be VERY closely related to stated learning outcomes. A Concern that assessments should be seen to be robust and fit for purpose – in particular they should be VERY closely related to stated learning outcomes. A recognition that differences in level should be reflected in differences in assessment. A recognition that differences in level should be reflected in differences in assessment. An awareness that external examination would be a key element in ensuring parity with UG programmes and national standards. In CE, all level 1 units and courses are examined by a team of external examiners (in addition to all level 2 and 3 units/courses). An awareness that external examination would be a key element in ensuring parity with UG programmes and national standards. In CE, all level 1 units and courses are examined by a team of external examiners (in addition to all level 2 and 3 units/courses). A recognition that CE Staff and tutors would need to invest a considerable amount of effort into the creation of an inclusive assessment strategy and the design of individual assessments which would engage rather than intimidate/alienate students. A recognition that CE Staff and tutors would need to invest a considerable amount of effort into the creation of an inclusive assessment strategy and the design of individual assessments which would engage rather than intimidate/alienate students.

13 Resistance to Assessment Students on award-bearing courses are highly committed to all aspects of their courses, including assessment. However, a small proportion of students on open access units are resistant to being assessed: The terrified learner: I want to learn more about the subject but find the idea of being assessed quite frightening. The passive learner: I have paid my fee and dont see why I should have to do assessed work when I am just here to learn about the subject from the tutor. The been there, got the T-Shirt learner: I resent being forced to do essays – I gave up all that a long time ago. The highly qualified learner: Im a qualified doctor – I dont need credits since I already have a degree. The Im too old for this learner: Im 76 and really cant see the point of working towards credits at my age.

14 Back to Basics: The Purpose of Assessment? The purpose of assessment is to: help students get the most out of the course; help students get the most out of the course; help students develop their critical faculties; help students develop their critical faculties; to develop key subject and transferable skills; to develop key subject and transferable skills; ensure that real learning has taken place on an individual basis; ensure that real learning has taken place on an individual basis; enhance understanding of the subject in question; enhance understanding of the subject in question; help tutors contribute to the students learning through a process of sympathetic and constructive criticism of the students work; help tutors contribute to the students learning through a process of sympathetic and constructive criticism of the students work; build confidence; build confidence; …… and also to facilitate the successful achievement of credits and the award of a Certificate/Diploma/Degree. facilitate the successful achievement of credits and the award of a Certificate/Diploma/Degree.

15 A Learning Outcomes-led Approach to Assessment The Continuing Education programme is characterised by a learning outcomes-led approach. The Course Design Process: Learning outcomes Teaching & learning strategy Assessment strategy ContentDescription Key reading/websites

16 Diversifying Modes of Assessment

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20 Success is measured in Engagement Academic Directors and their tutors have worked hard to develop a range of assessments which successfully engage ALL learners, not just those of high ability or prior/recent study experience. The proportion of students who do undertake assessed coursework: This is near 100% on award-bearing courses. On open access units 77% of all students achieved credit in 2004/5, and 80% in 2005/6. Initial signs indicate that the figure is approaching 90%. In a recent survey of students carried out as part of a Periodic Review of the CE Open Access programmes: 84% felt undertaking assessments had added to their enjoyment of the course and the learning experience. 84% felt undertaking assessments had added to their enjoyment of the course and the learning experience. 86% felt that it had enhanced their understanding of the subject. 86% felt that it had enhanced their understanding of the subject. 84% felt the assessments were well matched to the aims of the course. 84% felt the assessments were well matched to the aims of the course. Cont Eds assessment strategy, driven by an ethos of inclusivity and underpinned by a learning outcomes-led approach and a diversification of assessment modes, HAS succeeded in engaging students in the assessment process across programmes.

21 Successful Assessment Strategies in a Lifelong Learning Context Successful assessment strategies are those which: Respond to/accommodate students interests – negotiation. Respond to/accommodate students interests – negotiation. Are innovative - imaginatively and carefully designed to enable students to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes. More care in DESIGN = Less PLAGIARISM. Are innovative - imaginatively and carefully designed to enable students to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes. More care in DESIGN = Less PLAGIARISM. Build confidence in stages – the in at the deep end approach is rarely a wise or effective one. Build confidence in stages – the in at the deep end approach is rarely a wise or effective one. Respect the fact that students will have varied levels of prior knowledge, ability and confidence. Respect the fact that students will have varied levels of prior knowledge, ability and confidence. Engage students by giving them opportunities to be creative (e.g. the Paxman interview scenario). Engage students by giving them opportunities to be creative (e.g. the Paxman interview scenario). Ensure students know where the goals posts are - clear objectives and parameters and appropriate written guidance. Ensure students know where the goals posts are - clear objectives and parameters and appropriate written guidance. Provide students with opportunities to get to know each other (e.g. collaborative assignments). Provide students with opportunities to get to know each other (e.g. collaborative assignments). Include an element of class- or field-based assessment – almost impossible for students to de-select themselves! Include an element of class- or field-based assessment – almost impossible for students to de-select themselves! Include a significant front-loaded element. In terms of engaging students these are more effective than back-loaded modes. Include a significant front-loaded element. In terms of engaging students these are more effective than back-loaded modes.

22 Assessment in Lifelong Learning Dr Adam Longcroft School of Education & Lifelong Learning 5 July 2007 Reflecting on Practise

23 Start Finish Demonstrate effective critical reading and note-taking skills Essay-style Exercise Demonstrate basic competency in the use of a MS Windows XP environment Utilise e mail and Blackboard (VLE) effectively. Manipulate and integrate text/images using Microsoft Word Produce a well-designed essay plan relating to a piece of coursework required on another course Design a well-crafted electronic PowerPoint presentation, with a written supporting commentary which outlines how it might be delivered to an audience. Employ appropriate academic referencing conventions Access and search online library catalogues and databases for information relevant to their studies. Effectively search the WWW for information or downloadable materials, using Internet Explorer. Reflect critically on own coursework, strengths and weaknesses Collate & manipulate basic statistical information using Microsoft Excel. Process Model: Study Skills for Higher Education- Online Complete initial self-evaluation skills checklist Duration: Normally 1 Term (3 Months)


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