Friday, March 19, 2010

Assessing Student Work - Spring Term 2010

It's the end of term and another round of assessments completed. I expect great things from the students I've been teaching. I always want the student’s work to be of a very high standard and my contributions are intended to help them achieve these standards.

A major issue after the assessments is the gap between learner expectations and the actual grade awarded. As a qualified assessor on a range of Higher Education courses I am bound by the assessment criteria on the assessment record sheet. The evidence supplied by students for this assessment must meet the learning outcomes for the project.

You can work all term guiding students and reviewing their work and it may seem that the students are doing very well. Your expectations of them are high and you want them produce their best work. Then you get the evidence and assess it against the marking criteria. The work is good enough to PASS the unit but there are many areas where development is still required and in some cases major flaws that need to be addressed urgently. You want to be positive and constructive but more importantly you have to bring to the student’s attention the factors that are preventing their work being more successful.

Receiving written assessment feedback is one of them most stressful parts of the learning process for a student. Assessment feedback is essential if a student is to improve the quality of their work. Improvement is the reason for the assessment. We want students to improve.

If you got what you consider a 'bad' assessment grade this term have a good look at the feedback and honestly ask yourself if you could have done better during the project (better research, more analysis, greater subject understanding and applying a more professional attitude). You should also use the feedback to help you to decide what you are going to do in the future to make your work more successful.

I have been teaching for 16 years and without exception a student who looks at their work objectively and honestly can realise where they went wrong and what has to change to help them become more capable and competent.


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