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Playing to their strengths: empowering students with flexible assessment

Edwards, A ORCID: 0000-0001-7268-9255 2020 , 'Playing to their strengths: empowering students with flexible assessment' , International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 28, no. 4 , pp. 16-27 , doi: 10.30722/IJISME.28.04.002.

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Abstract

Assessment strategies play a major role in enhancing motivation and engagement. In this study, I offered second year biology students the opportunity to take increased control over their semester-based assessment by voluntarily adjusting the weightings of individual assessment items. Students self-reported on their levels of engagement and motivation in the unit. Most respondents (96%) agreed it was appropriate that students were able to adjust task weightings. Students reported feeling ownership and responsibility for their learning as positive factors increasing their desire to direct effort into learning opportunities and assessment tasks. Others reported that increased autonomy reduced the stress and anxiety associated with assessment. 47% of students who returned the survey elected to adjust their assessment. The rest did not want the responsibility of making the ‘wrong’ decision, raising the question of the timing of such initiatives: at what stage in their learning journey are students ready to take on that level of responsibility for their own learning? Self-reported reductions in levels of stress and anxiety associated with assessment by student participants suggest that flexible assessment opportunities could be valuable tools in enhancing the effectiveness of engagement strategies in tertiary learning environments, particularly as the nature of those learning environments continues to change.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Edwards, A
Keywords: autonomy, flexible assessment, engagement, motivation, student engagement, motivation,
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education
Publisher: Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education
ISSN: 2200-4270
DOI / ID Number: 10.30722/IJISME.28.04.002
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 the author and publisher: Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, University of Sydney.

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