22 SES 06 B, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
The scientific interest for formative assessment practices is greatly increased in recent years because of research that has shown its effective use to improve students’ learning outcomes (Kingston & Nash, 2011; Bennett, 2011; Dunn & Mulvenon, 2009; Black & Wiliam, 2009; 1998). Formative assessment can be defined as all activities undertaken by teachers and students to gather information to be used diagnostically in order to modify teaching and learning: it works because it has a powerful effect on the two most important protagonists in the teaching-learning process (teachers and students). However, things appear different when the focus is posed on Higher Education.
The current trend in assessment seems to lose its strength when the focus is placed on the university student’s level of achievement. Current research interests in this area are mainly oriented towards identifying forms and models for assessing teaching-learning processes and to implement a controlled system assessment. The most common assessment practice is aimed to gathering students’ opinions about the teaching-learning services in the course of study. Starting from this assumptions, the present paper reports on the first step of a larger multiple case study conducted with the students of the School of Education at the University of Bari (Italy). It is focused on their representations and conceptions of formative assessment (and the practices of self and peer-assessment).
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