Developing Students' Capacity for Innovation, Creativity and Critical Thinking through Contemporary Forms of Assessment: A Case Study in Progress


Innovative assessment practices have the potential to change the way universities function. By focusing on well designed, innovative assessment tasks that require students to work collegially and be actively involved in self- and peer assessment, we have the opportunity to engage students in the assessment process. Discontent with current assessment practices and levels of student engagement provoked us to undertake this study. We began by asking 271 first-year Bachelor of Education (Primary) students about their perceptions of the assessment process, and it is our contention that many of the students in our sample were significantly and detrimentally disengaged from the assessment process. As a result, the assessment process had become a case of ‘going through the motions’ on the part of both the
lecturers designing assessment tasks and the students completing them. Key issues that emerged included: large proportions of students not proofreading their own, or each other’s, work; lack of student collaboration; and no prior experience of involvement in developing assessment tasks or marking criteria. Consequently students showed little evidence of judgment or ability to assess their own efforts. These issues led us to develop a model of self- and peer assessment known as Authentic Self and Peer Assessment for Learning (ASPAL), currently being trialled with undergraduate students at the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia. Initial results have been very encouraging, with students displaying marked increases in collegiality, personal engagement with assessment tasks and judgment skills.


Published in Full, higher education; innovation; peer assessment; self-assessment


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