22 SES 01 A, Giving and Receiving Feedback: a Constructive Dialogue
The breaking down of barriers in communication through electronic media has not been totally felicitous for the educational world. Although access to new ideas and publications have resulted in speedy contacts with cutting edge and innovative thinking, research and practice to challenge and develop our own pedagogies, the negatives also need to be considered. One of these is the new mixing pot has created discrepancies and infelicities both across and within sectors because of lack of alignment of theory, empirical research, practices and contexts. This research aims to fill a gap and highlight understandings of assessment of university lecturers in a UK higher education institution.
Assessment is central to education for both accreditation and to support learning. As such it has a critical impact on the student experience and how they focus their learning, and on staff and how they organise the curriculum. The literature on assessment does not provide a coordinated understanding of definitions, terminologies and relationships between them. This situation exists both within and across education sectors (Black and Wiliam 2009; Havnes and McDowell 2008, Stobart 2008, Taras 2008) and despite the common use of assessment theories by Scriven (1967), Ramaprasad (1983), and Sadler (1989).
This paper reports work in a series of studies that examine university lecturers’ understandings of aspects of assessment in English Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). These aspects include summative and formative assessment processes, products and functions and the relationship between them, and how feedback and learner involvement relate to them. Empirical data were collected from 50 education lecturers, 50 science lecturers and 12 academic developers through questionnaires and also through semi-structured interviews. The data were examined qualitatively and quantitatively to provide an overview of understandings of aspects of assessment, feedback and learner involvement.
Due to the inconsistencies in the literature, the research posits that these lecturers will reflect the representations in the literature and therefore have an incomplete and un-harmonious understanding of assessment terms and how they relate and interrelate.
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (2009) Developing the theory of formative assessment Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 5-31. Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. and Wiliam, D. (2003) Assessment for learning. Putting it into practice Maidenhead: Open University Press Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Assessment and Classroom Learning Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice 5(1) 7-74 Havnes, A. & McDowell, L. (Eds) (2008) Balancing Dilemmas in Assessment and Learning in Contemporary Education New York/London: Routledge pp213-224. Ramaprasad, A. (1983). On the definition of feedback. Behavioural Science, 28, 4-13. Sadler, D. R. (1989) Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 145-165. Scriven, M. (1967) The Methodology of Evaluation, in: Tyler, R., Gagne, R. and Scriven, M. (1967) Perspectives on Curriculum Evaluation, AERA Monograph Series – Curriculum Evaluation, Chicago, Rand McNally & Co.39-83. Stobart, G. (2008) Testing times: The uses and abuses of assessment, New York/London: Routledge. Taras, M. (2008) Assessment: sectarian divisions of terminology and concepts Journal of Further and Higher Education Nov 32(4) 389-397. Taras, M. & Davies, M. (2014) Perceptions and realities in assessment definitions and uses. International Research in Education - Macrothink Institute, 2 (1). 93-102. Taras, M. & Davies, M. (2014) Perceptions and realities in the functions and processes of assessment, Active Learning in HE, 14(1). 1-11. Wiliam, D., Lee, C., Harrison, C. and Black, P. (2004) Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement, Assessment in Education, 11(1), 49-80.
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