In continuing with the forms and methods of assessment that for decades have pervaded higher education, are we devaluing the education we provide and disengaging students in the process?
Why do we assess? What is our purpose and for whose benefit do we assess? Are these benefits achieved through current practices? These are the questions that need to be addressed.
The demands on educators to provide valuable, student-centred assessment and feedback have never been greater. Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement (Hattie, 2007), and how we construct and evaluate these tasks to provide feedback determines the potency of such feedback.
The focus of tertiary education needs to be on developing students’ capacity for innovation, creativity and critical thinking. The perpetuation of the dichotomy in universities between traditional approaches and the ideals of critical and lateral thinking, autonomy, and thoughtfulness in education, make current traditional practices impractical and unacceptable.
The arbitrary nature of creating, marking and providing feedback for tasks without consideration for the learning that should result from the task seems illogical and counter-productive to the purpose of assessment. Peer assessment, self-assessment and the democratization of assessment for learning all need to become part of the repertoire of the university tutor, lecturer and professor if we want students to be engaged with and value their learning.
Kearney, S. P., & Perkins, T. (2011). Developing students' capacity for innovation, creativity and critical thinking through contemporary forms of assessment. Paper presented at the 9th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education. Honolulu, Hawaii, 4-7 January.