22 SES 07 A, Assessment Practices
In the Spanish Higher Education context, the final of the academic course 2013-2014 has marked the graduation year of the first promotion of students trained in the framework of European Higher Education Area. Hence, we consider that this is a key moment to gather information regarding the faculty and other staff members’ perception about which is the impact of this approach on students’ learning and development. The information gathered will permit orientation for the improvement of the university system and provide quality assurance systems for official university education.
Nowadays, competency-based assessment is one of the challenges that most teachers must face and it requires a shift from the traditional approach towards evaluation based on the accumulation of knowledge. Competency-based assessment not only aims to improve comprehensive or practical learning, but also aims to provide smooth transition into employment and give people the skills they will need to meet the growing challenges of today’s society. For this reason, competency-based assessment requires the acceptance of a new approach in the academic field.
A number of authors (Bain, 2004 among others) highlight the difference between the assessment of traditional knowledge-based study, and the assessment of practical knowledge and competency. This leads to a recognition of the need to introduce greater diversity into assessment processes, to give them a formative role in the development of competencies and to make them more coherent (Taras, 2007). There are several authors who signal a shift from a test culture to an assessment culture which strongly emphasises integration of instruction, learning and assessment (Birenbaum, 2003 among others). In contrast to traditional tests, they refer to assessments which are based on multiple products or processes, such as essays, reflection papers, oral assessments, process analyses, group products and work samples. Wolf (2009) takes a conceptual approach to competency-based assessment and its implications within the field of international education. Assessment based on competency focuses on the ability to use combinations of acquired skills and knowledge, and therefore fits in well with the theory of powerful learning environments (Linn, Baker, & Dunbar, 1991). These assessments, which should be fully integrated in the learning process, provide information about learner progress and support learners in selecting appropriate learning tasks. The compatibility of instruction, learning and assessment is described within the theory of constructive alignment (Biggs, 1996; Birenbaum, 2003, among others). In addition, in the Spanish context there are several studies analysing the role of different actors in the implementation of this process (Ion and Cano, 2012; Tierno, Iranzo & Barrios, 2013). In this communication we aim to compare the perception of academic coordinators and teachers, regarding the implementation of the competencies-based assessment and the difficulties and challenges they experimented in this process in the Spanish university context.
1. Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2. Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3),347-364. 3. Birenbaum, M. (2003). New insights into learning and teaching and their implications for assessment. In M. Segers, F. Dochy, & E. Cascallar (Eds.), Optimising new modes of assessment: In search of qualities and standards (pp. 13 36). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: 4. Boud, D. (2011). Giving and Receiving Feedback: A Guide to the Use of Peers in Self Assessment. Available from: http://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/teaching-and-learning/assessment/assessment-futures 5. Boud, D.; Lawson, R.; Thompson, D. (2013). Does student engagement in self-assessment calibrate their judgment over time? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2013.769198 6. Ion, G., & Cano, E. (2012). La formación del profesorado universitario para la implementación de la evaluación por competencias. Educación XX1, vol. 15 (2). 7. Kluwer. 8. Linn, R.L., Baker, E.L., & Dunbar, S.B. (1991). Complex, performance-based assessment: Expectations and validation criteria. Educational Researcher, 20(8), 15 21. 9. Taras, M. (2007). Assessment for learning: Understanding theory to improve practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31(4), 363_371. 10. Tierno, J.M.; Iranzo, P. & Barrios, C. (2013). El compromiso organizativo e institucional para diseñar y evaluar competencias en la universidad. Revista de Educación, 361, 227-256. Available from: http://www.mecd.gob.es/dctm/revista-de-educacion/articulosre361/re36109.pdf?documentId=0901e72b8162f032 11. Wolf, A. (2009). Competence based assessment. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
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