Assessment and learning workshop

This is a brief summary of the presentations from the workshop, as well as a few comments and ideas of what it stimulated me to question. We were provided with an Assessment and learning resource pack, containing journal articles and the UWC Principles of good assessment.

Outcomes important to me

  1. It is always useful to have a rubric when assessing. This helps us, as well as the external moderators.
  2. Lecturers emphasized the importance of feedback when assessing.
  3. Lecturers raise questions about the reliability and validity of assessments.
  4. Lecturers emphasized that assessment strategies should encourage deep learning.
  5. Lecturers should read the UWC's Assessment Policy which was made available in the resource pack and could make recommendations to the Director of T&L if it is necessary.

Thoughts and ideas from the workshop

  • Print out the principles of assessment and put up in office
  • Review the learning / course outcomes for the subjects I teach
  • What would I present at such a workshop? Practical component of physiotherapy?
  • How is teaching and learning different in HE compared to high school? Surface and Deep? Passive and active?
  • “Don't frustrate students in the process of learning and assessment”
  • No single test can measure all outcomes
  • Test based criteria are no guarantee that students think critically. How can we teach and assess critical thinking?
  • How is my assessment tied to course outcomes and descriptors / the curriculum?
  • Should I be using marking rubrics?
  • Include self-directed learning tools e.g. questions and reflective writing in course readers i.e “course readers” become “course workbooks”, thus continuous evaluation becomes more easily attainable.

Academic literacy in Introduction to the Philosophy of Care


  • Student profile: 90% of students have an “E” in English, 70% come from “township” schools, 45% obtained 45% - 49% for English in high school.
  • Mostly “non-traditional” students: English is a second language, first generation students, mature, low socio-economic backgrounds.
  • University education involves adapting to new ways of learning, understanding, interpreting and organising knowledge (Windgate, 1998)

Curriculum outcomes must:

  • Be clear
  • Include appropriate assessment tasks
  • Include learning opportunities
  • Have non-threatening assessment
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Include continuous evaluation

Biggs (1999)

How to improve academic literacy?

  • Read journals, reading skills
  • Write often, summaries and essays (basic and referenced)

Nursing practical module (MSN 213, 821213)

Outcomes of the module

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the patient
  • Assess, manage and evaluate a patient with complex health issues
  • Demonstrate the ability to adequately manage patients with medical / surgical problems
  • Evaluate the outcomes of treatment
  • Integrate ethico-legal principles

Students mark each others presentations and the group gets the average of students and lecturers marks.

Group review of each others presentations:

  • Attends discussions
  • Assists with preparation
  • Good contribution to content
  • Keeps to planned format
  • Works well within group (deadlines, etc.)

One assessment tool used in Nursing is the Triple Jump (or 3-stage assessment in Problem-based Learning). I didn't know what this was so researched it and came across "Good Practices in Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education", which led to this section.

Basically, the Triple jump is a 3 step exam to evaluate performance of reasoning and application, self-directed learning and self-assessment:

  1. Problem is assigned - student assessed immediately by asking questions to build a framework of the problem.
  2. Student given time to research the problem and write a response
  3. Student presents the response based on research and is questioned

Challenges of assessment

  • Are students being routinely and uniformly assessed for problem-solving abilities?
  • Are such assessments evenly distributed across subject matter and modules?

School of Public Health - Distance learning

  • “Assessment to drive learning”
  • 280 students from many African countries, using mixed mode learning materials
  • Assessment is embedded in the learning materials e.g. questions after new concepts introduced
  • Outline tasks - explain to students what is required and what should be included in the final product

Assessment as a driver of learning

  • Constant level of self-assessment is encouraged throughout
  • Synthesis of key outcomes in a single, integrated activity
  • Requires the student to understand critical issues
  • Builds self-directed learning capacity

Encourage application of theory in own context

  • Reduces “cut and paste” and inappropriate “collaboration”
  • Challenges students to interact with what the work means
  • Challenges students to think about applying learning in the workplace

Challenges in distance learning

  • Lack of regular discussion
  • How to ensure that the work presented is the students own?
  • Intensive time, care and interaction by the lecturer
  • There is a strong demand for self-directed learning. How can this be supported?

Fitness practical module (SRES)

Module contains:

  • Module descriptor
  • Specific outcomes of the module
  • Module content
  • What is the essential knowledge required to participate?
  • Assessment policy (attendance, assignments, weekly reports, tests)

Challenge of weighting assessment: tests should count for less and CE is important

  • Tests are interpretive (case based) to avoid students giving recipes / lists taken straight from the course reader
assessment_and_learning_workshop.txt · Last modified: 2008/10/28 16:14 by Michael Rowe