All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2008: Encouraging Student Engagement

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Student Perspectives on Assessment
Martina Crehan, Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, Dr. Paul Surgenor

Last modified: 2008-05-16


Feedback and goal transparency have long been identified as effective components of learning and assessment. Denton (2003) emphasises the importance of effective feedback to student retention, and Brown (2004-05, p.84) states that 'if assessment is to be integral to learning, feedback must be at the heart of the process'
These principles, however, should not be perceived as a 'one-way street', applied only by the tutor to the student. In light of increasing modularisation, this dual-directional role of transparency and feedback is particularly prevalent in higher education learning environments. While procedures within the Dublin Institute of Technology promote formal evaluation of lectures through Quality Assurance feedback mechanisms, assumptions are frequently made by the lecturer on behalf of the students about the transparency, relevance, frequency, and success of their assessment techniques
As part of an overall review of assessment and modularisation, a pilot research study was designed to provide insight into assessment from the student perspective, addressing issues such as feedback, diversity, key skills, and time and frequency of assessment. Twenty-five DIT students volunteered to participate in a series of small focus groups to discuss their experience of assessment. Students varied by sex, subject discipline and number of years spent at university.
The session will present the findings of this pilot study; with a focus on the presupposition that the roll out of modularisation has led to a perceived over-assessment of students. While such a small sample cannot claim to be representative of the student population en masse, this will provide an invaluable insight into some pressing issues/concerns experienced by students during their higher education career. Session participants will be encouraged to reflect on their own perceptions of student experiences and expectations of assessment and feedback. Implications from the analysis relating to the design and implementation of assessment/feedback methods will be explored


assessment;student perceptions;curriculum design