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Flexible assessment: a case study – do student choices vary with experience?


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Edwards, A 2009 , 'Flexible assessment: a case study – do student choices vary with experience?', paper presented at the UTAS Teaching Matters, 26 Nov 2009, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

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Teaching flexibly can accommodate different learning styles. Less emphasis has been placed on the merits of students being assessed in different ways. Students experience a sense of increased ownership, engagement responsibility for their learning when offered involvement/choice in assessment processes. To engage students with their own assessment, and to inform my own assessment practices, I asked students to chose between two assessment weighting options in 2nd yr Zoology units. Cohorts had either completed 2 core Zoology 2nd yr units (“experienced” = 2008), or had completed only the 1st semester (“inexperienced” = 2009).
While those students who had “experienced” both units, and so both assessment patterns did not display a clear preference, as a group, for either option, they made far more strategic decisions about their preference. Reasons given for their choice were with a view to longer term and bigger picture factors such as final grades and overall time management during the semester and year. Students who had only actually experienced one of the assessment options took a “grass is always greener” approach, with a clear preference for the semester 2 option in which they were yet to participate. Reasons given showed primary concern for shorter term factors such as degree of difficulty or specific weighting of the immediate task. Such decisions presumably reflect the students’ progress as maturing learners. The 2009 data, particularly, highlighted to me the importance of managing student expectations, and have allowed me to accommodate student concerns about assessment in the delivery of a Sem 2 2009 2nd yr Zoology unit.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Authors/Creators:Edwards, A
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