Case Study 8: Traditional assessment tasks: Changing the delivery rather than the task type
A Case Study from the University sector. Part of the Enhancing the Effectiveness of Tertiary Teaching and Learning through Assessment project.
The University Sector
Name: Dr Dan Marsh
Organisation: The University of Waikato
Researcher: Jill Musgrave
'We're always making changes in the hope of making things better. All the changes we make have upsides and downsides. I think we have to look carefully and see whether we are really gaining.'
A university lecturer who values traditional assessment tasks has made changes to the way he delivers tutorials and essays to increase student engagement with the learning and improve the quality of student writing. This development supports his school's initiative to include 'writing intensive' papers within every discipline in response to concern about the low standard of writing ability of some graduates.
To prepare for tutorials, students complete assessments for which they receive marks. The assessment tasks require them to complete set readings and electronically submit a one-page written answer in response to set questions the evening before the tutorial.
To prepare for essay assessments, students submit a draft essay, worth one fifth of the overall essay mark, one week before the due date for the final essay. Then they bring their draft essays to a tutorial for peer review. Working in pairs, each student reads a nominated part of the other student's essay and completes a peer review essay sheet.
Student attendance and participation in tutorials has improved, and students value the peer review process for the essays.