22 SES 04 C, Interactive Poster Session
The Bologna Process has brought about changes in Higher Education with implications for curriculum design and, consequently, for teaching, learning and assessment methods. This "new" educational paradigm recognises the key role of students in their learning process based on autonomy, shared work and project-based work (Flores & Veiga Simão, 2007). These are some of the key issues for highly competitive environments in universities, along with the adoption of transdisciplinary knowledge, pedagogical innovation and student-centred education, and to achieve pedagogical excellence in Higher Education. Furthermore, pedagogical innovation in Higher Education is a key issue in the educational priorities of Portugal and Europe.
Within this context, and after the Bologna process, the curricula of some programmes in Portugal were restructured and new teaching and assessment methodologies were introduced such as student-centered methodologies and project-based work, amongst others. Also, the need for developing and evaluating Assessment for Learning (AfL) approaches in Higher Education has been pointed out to improve the teaching and learning quality in universities (McDowell et al., 2011). The AfL approach emphasises formative assessment and continuous feedback mechanisms between teacher and student for adjustment of teaching strategies and learning activities (McDowell et al., 2009; Reimann & Wilson, 2012). Instead of meeting the purposes of accountability and certification, AfL practices promote students’ learning as a priority (Black et al., 2002). Thus learning results from significant learning experiences adjusted to students’ needs, rather than developing traditional activities and prescribed knowledge (Perrenoud, 1991). The development and assessment of these practices implies the adoption of a wide array of assessment methods and less tests; feedback to report students’ strengths and weaknesses; opportunities to overcome weaknesses, to work in assessment in a collaboratively way and to carry out peer or self-assessment; sharing with students the goals of learning and the use of assessments tasks that enhance creativity and understanding, rather than memorization of knowledge (Carless, 2005).
On the one hand, and in regard to students’ perceptions, literature has shown that AfL practices stimulate students’ engagement in a more active way, providing them with more positive formative experiences, such as: greater teacher support, flexible curricular design, dialogue opportunities, peer learning and research opportunities (Black et al., 2005; McDowell et al., 2011). On the other hand, although there are studies focusing on students’ conceptions of assessment and their impact on learning (Fletcher et al., 2012) more needs to be done in regard to students’ beliefs related to assessment practices, since the ways in which students see assessment will affect their involvement in the learning process (Biggs, 2003). Thus, learning is strongly correlated with assessment (Pereira & Flores, 2012), but assessment and feedback processes are the issues with which students remain less satisfied with (Norton, 2009). Earlier literature suggests that the ideas that students associate with assessment are related to their area of knowledge as well as the assessment methods used by their teachers (Pereira, Niklasson, & Flores, 2016; Pereira, Flores, & Barros, 2017). MacLellan (2001) also concluded that students do not take advantage of assessment to improve their learning and, consequently, have an underdeveloped conception of what assessment is.
There is a need for further research in this area in Higher Education, particularly in the Portuguese context. It is within this framework that the present study was carried out.
This poster draws on data from an ongoing PhD project, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (SFRH/BD/94152/2013), aimed at investigating AfL in sciences, engineering and social sciences in two public universities in Portugal. This project is also part of a larger study, also funded by FCT (PTDC/MHCCED/2703/2014), aimed at investigating assessment in Higher Education, namely the potential of alternative methods. With three different research studies, the PhD. project combines quantitative and qualitative methods: the development of exploratory focus groups with students and university teachers to get to know general perceptions about teaching, learning and assessment in Higher Education (exploratory study); the development of a study with engineering students focused on AfL to evaluate the impact of AfL practices in teaching, learning and assessment in Higher Education; and a survey to get to know students and university teachers’ conceptions about assessment in Higher Education. Data reported in this poster were collected through the survey, through the use of Students’ Conceptions of Assessment (SCoA III) questionnaire, from Brown’ study (2006) and validated in the Portuguese context by Rui Gonçalves’ study (2011). The aim of this poster is to analyse assessment practices in Portuguese higher education settings from the perspective of undergraduates in two Portuguese public universities. The main purpose is to look at the students’ conceptions of assessment in higher education taking into account the assessment methods used. In total, over nearly 2500 students from two public universities in Portugal participated in this study. The study was carried out with 1st, 2nd and 3rd year-students in sciences, engineering and social sciences. Data were collected between February and July 2017. The questionnaire was administered to the students in person in one of the classes with the permission of the teacher and programme director. Data were analysed through SPSS. The study developed was approved by the UMinho Ethics Committee.
Preliminary findings provide an analysis of students’ conceptions about assessment and assessment methods used in Higher Education. Based upon data analysis some outcomes are expected such as differences between scientific areas (sciences, engineering and social sciences) and differences between programmes from these scientific areas. Implications of the findings for the discussion about the relation between assessment and learning will be further examined, as well as for enhancing the quality and innovation in Higher Education.
Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Buckingham: SHRE and Open University Press. Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2005). Assessment for Learning. Putting it into practice. England: Open University Press. Brown, G. T. L. (2006). Teachers' conceptions of assessment inventory--Abridged (TCoA-IIIA-Version 3-Abridged). Unpublished test. Auckland, NZ: University of Auckland. Carless, D. (2005). Prospects for the implementation of assessment for learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 12(1), 39-54. Fletcher, R., Meyer, L., Anderson, H., Johnston, P., & Rees, M. (2012). Faculty and Students Conceptions of Assessment in Higher Education. Higher Education, 64 (1), 119- 133. Flores, M. A., & Veiga Simão, A. M. (2007). Competências desenvolvidas no contexto do Ensino Superior: a perspetiva dos diplomados. In V Jornadas de Redes de Investigación en Docencia Universitaria, 4-5 junho 2007. Alicante. Goncalves, R. (2011). Cuestionario Abreviado de Concepciones de Evaluación del Aprendizaje. Unpublished translation of Teachers' Conceptions of Assessment inventory (CoA-IIIA), Nursing School of Coimbra, Portugal. MacLellan, E. (2001). Assessment for Learning: The differing perceptions of tutors and students. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 26(4), 307-318. McDowell, L., Sambell, K., & Davison, G. (2009). Assessment for learning: A brief history and review of terminology. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving student learning through the curriculum (pp. 56–64). Oxford, UK: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development. McDowell, L., Wakelin, D., Montgomery, C., & King, S. (2011). Does assessment for learning make a difference? The development of a questionnaire to explore the student response. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(7), 749-765. Norton, L. (2009). Assessing student learning. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge, & S. Marshall (Eds.), A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Enhancing Academic Practice (pp.132-149). New York and London: Routledge. Pereira, D., Flores, M., & Barros, A. (2017). Perceptions of Portuguese undergraduate students about assessment: A study in five public universities. Educational Studies, 43(4), 442-463. Pereira, D., Niklasson, L., & Flores, M.A. (2016). Students’ perceptions of assessment: a comparative analysis between Portugal and Sweden. Higher Education. Perrenoud, P. (1991). Towards a pragmatic approach to formative evaluation. In P. Weston (Ed.), Assessment of pupil achievement (pp.79-101). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger. Reimann, N., & Wilson, A. (2012). Academic development in ‘assessment for learning’: the value of a concept and communities of assessment practice. International Journal for Academic Development, 17(1), 71-83.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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