Tag Archives: formative assessment

Enhancing student engagement using a classroom response system (CRS) (2014)

Jeff Waldock, Hannah Bartholomew, Xinjun Cui, Sue Forder, David Greenfield, Wodu Majin, John Metcalfe and Mike Robinson

Student engagement with course material can be variable. Lectures are often didactic, information being transmitted by the lecturer with student interaction  occurring rarely if at all. Such lectures do not normally require students to actively engage with the taught material, concentrating rather on copying down what is said and not thinking about it for themselves.  A different problem occurs in group tutorials where it is often difficult to get everyone to make productive use of the time.

In-class response systems can provide a solution, promoting cooperative learning with “students becoming active participants in their learning” (Beatty, 2006). The purpose of including these systems in the classroom has multiple benefits – principally to introduce an element of dialogue and team working into the session, but also to maintain engagement and stimulate interest.  Beatty explains the process as involving six stages:

  1. Provision of a question for discussion
  2. Small peer group discussion – probably just for a minute or two
  3. Provision of a peer group response
  4. Class discussion
  5. General tutor observations, possibly presented as a micro-lecture
  6. Closure – summarising the topic, then moving on.

An example of a suitable tool of this kind is ‘Socrative‘, which allows a lecturer to present ad-hoc or prepared quizzes (multiple choice or short-answer) to students in class.  We have used Socrative in many ways within ACES during the last year, and will share our experiences and student feedback, discussing with participants how this approach could be of benefit to them.  Participants will also be invited to join a Socrative Special Interest Group.

If you plan to attend, and own a smartphone or tablet device, please download and install the free ‘Socrative Student’ and ‘Socrative Teacher’ apps first.  If you don’t have a device you will be able to pair up with another participant.

Beatty, I.D et. al., “Designing Effective Questions for Classroom Response System Teaching”, Am. J Phys., 74, pp31-39, 2006.

284 – Exploring ways of using formative feedback to improve student engagement with simulation modules – Vicky Thirlaway, Amy Musgrove

It is now well established that courses should seek to use Assessment for Learning, rather than Assessment of Learning, and that the form of assessment can have a significant impact on the student experience (the “backwash” effect described by Biggs (1996)). A key component of any assessment for learning strategy is to include authentic assessment tasks which the students can see have a relationship to the “real world” (McDowell, 2012; Gikandi et al., 2011). Fostering student engagement with a “make believe” scenario is a challenge: the activities must be perceived to be “credible” if students are going to engage with them.

Simulation can be an effective way of allowing students to contextualise their learning and develop the skills they will need to turn theory into practice. It can, therefore, have a role to play in developing employability skills.

Research demonstrates that formative assessment and feedback can significantly improve student performance (Black and Wiliam, 1998) and arguably, this is even more crucial when the assessment measures skills of application that the student may not have had to demonstrate in their previous educational experiences (Ramaprasad, 1983; Sadler, 1989 cited in Jordan, 2012).  Tutors often feel that students fail to engage with formative assessment, and take little notice of feedback provided (Orsmond et al., 2013).

This presentation will argue that cohorts of students are primarily strategic learners, and therefore are reluctant to engage with learning activities that do not directly feed into assessment, even where they acknowledge the validity of the exercise (Coles, 2009). It will be suggested that “formative” assessment should be compulsory and, therefore, must be part of the totality of summative assessment on the module. We have some experience of embedding compulsory formative assessment and feedback within a simulation exercise. The presentation will evaluate the successes and shortcomings of our experience, and consider alternative ways of providing formative feedback within the simulation whilst maintaining the authenticity of the task and the credibility of the summative assessment.

References

Biggs JB (1996) “Assessing learning quality: Reconciling institutional, staff and educational demands” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 21: 5–16.

Black, P and Wiliam, D (1998) “Assessment and classroom learning” Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice” 5(1): 7-73

Cauley, K, M and McMillan, J. H (2010) “Formative Assessment Techniques to support student motivation and achievement” The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83:1, 1-6

Carless, D, D. Salter, M, Yang, and J. Lam. (2011) “Developing sustainable feedback practices” Studies in Higher Education 36, no. 4: 395–407.

Clark, I (2008) “Assessment is for Learning: Formative Assessment and Positive Learning Interactions” Florida Journal of Educational Adminsitration & Policy 2(1): 1-15

Clarke, I (2012) “Formative Assessment: Assessment is for self-regulated learning” Educ Psychol Rev, 24, 205-249

Coles, C (2009) “The Role of New Technology in Improving Engagement among Law Students in Higher Education”, Journal of Information, Law & Technology (JILT), 3, <http://go.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/2009_3/coles>

Duncan, N. (2007) “Feedforward’: Improving students’ use of tutors’ comments.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 32, no. 3: 271–83.

Gikandi, J. W, Morrow, D and Davis, N. E (2011) “Online formative assessment in higher education: A review of the literature” Computers and Education, 57, 2333-2351

Handley, K, Price, M and Millar, J (2011) “Beyond ‘doing time’: Investigating the concept of student engagement with feedback” Oxford Review of Education, vol37, No.4, Aug 2011, 543-560

Jordan, S (2012) “Student engagement with assessment and feedback: Some lessons from short-answer free-text e-assessment questions” Computers and Education, 818-834

Mann, S.J. (2001) “Alternative perspectives on the student experience: alienation and engagement” Studies in Higher Education, 26(1): 7-19

McDowell, L. ‘Assessment for Learning’ in L. Clouder & Broughan (eds) (2012) “Improving Student Engagement and Development Through Assessment” London: Taylor & Francis

Orsmond, P, Maw, S, Park, S, Gomez, S & Crook, A. (2013): Moving feedback forward: theory to practice, Assessment & Evaluation in HigherEducation, 38:2, 240-252

Parkin, H. J, Hepplestone, S, Holden, G Irwin, B and Thorpe, L (2012) “A role for technology in enhancing students’ engagement with feedback” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vo.37, No.8, Dec 2012, 963-973

Price, M, Handley, K and Millar, J (2011) “Feedback: Focusing attention on engagement.” Studies in Higher Education, Vol.36, No.8, Dec 2011, 879-896

Schartel, S. A (2012) “Giving Feedback: An integral part of education” Best Practice and Clinical Anaesthesiology, 26, 77-87

Wingate, U (2010) “The impact of formative feedback on the development of academic writing” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol.35, No.5, Aug 2010, 519-533

284 Final power point SHU conference