Tag Archives: assessment for learning

Ditching the dissertation? The patchwork text process as a more productive tool for assessing learning and engaging students

Stella Jones-Devitt & Ann-marie Steele

Parallel session 4, CoLab 4.3

Short Abstract
Workshop draws upon key principles of A Marked Improvement (HEA, 2012) calling for significant reappraisal of assessment processes through evidence-informed change.
• Introducing patchwork text assessment processes and exploring significance for student engagement
• Sharing lessons learned and how these can be addressed
Key focus: Gauging interest in further University-wide application

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
Presents a critical account of some of the tensions inherent in designing appropriate assessment activities within a marketised university context; specifically linked to the context of the health and social care curriculum. It draws upon experiences of reconciling NHS employer-driven needs for reduced contact time for off-site employee development, counterbalanced against student expectations of enhanced contact time and assumptions about engagement.

The example concerns an undergraduate leadership course in which attempts have been made to turn these tensions into something more positive by using a ‘patchwork’ text approach to leadership development at meta level across a whole course. We will argue that the patchwork text (as introduced by Scoggins and Winter, 1999) – in which small episodes of learning are placed into a wider context by students ‘stitching’ together a justified meaning or narrative of their theory and practice – can provide a tool for wider critical thinking development; the process neither privileges the retrospective synthesis as illustrated by the dissertation nor the wholly reflective component as characterised by reflective diaries. Instead, the patchwork text draws upon synthesis and reflection concurrently to develop both student autonomy and application to practice.

The process is presented as a practical mechanism across a whole course for developing innovative assessment for learning processes, drawing upon notions that putting a complex theory into practice – or praxis – should be given more attention. The approach draws heavily upon key principles of the A Marked Improvement document (HEA, 2012) which called for significant reappraisal of assessment processes through evidence-informed change.

Workshop Outcomes:
• Introduce the concept of patchwork text assessment processes and explore range of application
• Share lessons learned about potential pitfalls and how these can be addressed
• Explore wider application and utility for participants’ own contexts

The workshop shares ‘lessons learned’ but argues that this continuous process is more effective than many traditional end-point assessment approaches such as the classic dissertation. The relationship to colleagues’ own contexts will be explored throughout and we will end by gauging interest in taking this process further within the University.

The role of assessment in learner engagement in and out of the classroom

Christine O’Leary

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.5

Watch the presentation on YouTube (opens in new window)

Short Abstract
The session will explore the role of assessment in fostering learner engagement in and out of the classroom, based on undergraduate students’ learning logs as well as individual and group feedback. It will consider the assessment design principles associated with this approach.

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
The growing recognition within current educational literature that student engagement and motivation are essential to successful learning (Coates, 2006; Zepke and Leach, 2010) supports a student-centred approach to Teaching and Learning. Cognitive and more particularly constructivist views of student learning suggest that learners’ active and independent/ interdependent involvement in their own learning increases motivation to learn (Raya and Lamb, 2008; Hoidn and Kärkkäinen, 2014). Furthermore, the ability to influence one’s own learning has been associated with improved academic performance (Andrade and Valtcheva, 2009; Ramsden, 2003). The shift to a more student-centred curriculum and the need to align assessment with Learning and Teaching practices (Biggs, 2003) has prompted the development of new approaches to assessment in all sectors of education, including higher education. Assessment for and as learning approaches recognise the role of assessment as a vehicle for learning as well as a means of measuring achievement (Gardner, 2012; Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick, 2006). The active use of assessment in learning necessitates engagement both within and outside the classroom.

This session will examine the use of assessment for and as learning as a means of fostering learner engagement both in and out of the classroom, based a group of undergraduate Languages and Business/ TESOL students’ learning logs covering reflection, metacognitive and affective strategies as well as self/peer feedback. Participants will be given the opportunity to discuss and explore the assessment design principles associated with this approach.

Andrade, H and Valtcheva, A 2009. Promoting Learning and Achievement through Self-Assessment. London: Routledge.
BIGGS, J. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning in Higher Education. Buckingham, England: Open University Press.
COATES, H 2006. The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in Higher Education, 11 (1), 25-36.
HOIDN, S and KÄRKKÄINEN, K 2014. Promoting Skills for Innovation in Higher Education: a literature review on the effectiveness of problem-based learning and of teaching behaviours. [online]. OECD. OECD Education Working Papers, 100. http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2013)15&docLanguage=En
GARDNER, J 2012. Assessment and Learning. London: Sage
NICOL D.J. & MACFARLANE-DICK D. 2006. Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2): 199-218
RAMSDEN, P 2008. The future of higher education teaching and the student experience. [online].
Raya, MJ and Lamb, T 2008. Pedagogy for Autonomy in Language Education. Dublin: Authentik.
ZEPKE, N and LEACH, L 2010. Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Educatio n, 11 (3), 167-177


235 – Empowering students to develop their employability by applying their course learning in a module – Anne Nortcliffe, Jacky Stallard, Matthew Love, Students

Bad experiences of assessment in the form of tests and exams can turn them away from learning (Berry, 2008). Engagement and attainment increases when students know that assessment will promote their learning (Black et al., 2003; Pat-El et al., 2013). Assessment for learning engages and empowers students because they can see their learning develop (Stiggins, 2002). Project-based learning results in assessment which is learner-centered due to its experiential approach and its capacity to scaffold students as they develop their professional skills (McLoughlin and Luca, 2002); an example of this being project management skills . Applied as group assessment to solve authentic challenging problems, Project-Based Learning requires students to adopt processes for identifying and analysing important activities, and then planning and pursuing these activities (Solomon, 2002). Complex problems encourage collaborative learning techniques amongst students as they identify, analyse and organise their solutions (Barkley et al., 2005). This workshop will provide a hands-on opportunity for module and course leaders, and students to correlate course/module learning outcomes with graduate employability skills and will involve the design of an authentic Project-Based Learning assessment framework used to assist students in collaboratively developing their professional skills. The workshop also provides an opportunity to hear from module tutors, a course leader and students on how such approach has empowered students to draw together course learning by providing realistic solutions for the project management of a development of sustainable technology for attendance monitoring.

235 workshop LTA PMCD v2