Assessment in higher education: Challenges and solutions
Gavin T L Brown, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Assessment in higher education faces multiple challenges. The almost universal drive for formative, learning-oriented practices that provide feedback to learners such that they develop not just increasing quantities of knowledge and skill, but also greater depth of quality in disciplinary competence, is the largest driver of change. Parallel to this is the need to establish (a) quality and rigor in grading, (b) manageability of practices, and (c) applicability and authenticity of assessment. These pressures mean the traditional practice of end-of-course final examinations with essays and/or multiple-choice questions no longer meets these competing needs and obligations. In this talk, I shall discuss how assessment design within courses and programs can achieve diversity of methods, meaningful feedback, and rigor in making decisions about grading. Specifically, I will touch on alternatives to written essays, psychometric methods of eliminating bad items from tests or exams, the SOLO cognitive taxonomy as a tool to design assessments, and methods of standard setting.
Assessment for Learning - a missing link in Higher Education?
Therese N. Hopfenbeck University of Oxford, England
Assessment for Learning, or formative assessment, claims a direct link between assessment and learning (Baird et al 2018). Formative assessment practices such as feedback from teachers to students, peer and self-assessment, can enhance students learning (Black and Wiliam 2018). However, although AfL or formative assessment practices has been researched, piloted and/or implemented in a wide variety of contexts such as Australia, New Zealand, UK, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Chile, Singapore, Rwanda, Cameroon, The Netherlands, a series of caveats and difficulties have been found in relation to the feasibility of its implementation (Hopfenbeck, Florez Petour and Tolo 2015). The complexity and challenges of how to do it, is still a missing link. In my presentation, I will discuss possibilities and limitations for higher education with respect to implementing AfL practises based upon previous and ongoing research studies at OUCEA, with a particular focus upon the use of feedback.