Tag Archives: holistic learning experience

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


Putting students in the hot seat: Using a Viva to assess and engage students in career development planning.

Karen Soulby

Parallel session 2,  Thunderstorm 2.2

Listen to the presentation (opens in new window)

Short Abstract
This paper looks at a module which has been designed holistically to use informal experiential learning and a module assessment package, a Viva, which requires students to actively engage in their own employability journey. The positive outcomes of this have been improved student engagement in their career development plans, high levels of student satisfaction, and improved student self-confidence.

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
In response to the Sheffield Business School employability imperative, a student centred module was introduced onto the BSc Tourism Management programme. Entitled ‘Tourism Industry Experience’ the aim of the module is to focus students in their efforts to begin their career path and development at level 5. As each student has differing career goals, and the impetus to achieving these goals needs to come from within the individual the emphasis of the module was that it should be student driven and created. Formal lectures and seminars were eschewed as it was felt they may encourage students to rely on directed content which was against the aims of the module. With minimal input to outline the requirements of the module, the module leader sets the task for the students to individually research by a number of means possible, desirable career pathways, suitable employers, desirable jobs including the knowledge and skills required and a first-hand experiential account of that job. Students are encouraged to project their career path into the next 10 years and design a plan in order for them to achieve their goal. The module makes use of informal learning spaces and uses a field trip to an international industry B2B event to inspire students. An innovative assessment strategy, seldom seen at UG level, the Viva, was used. Students are asked to present their career plan over 15 minutes to the module leader without the use of technology and ideally without notes. A mock event is videoed to allow students to reflect on their performance.
This presentation will examine what happened when students were deprived of their pens, phones, tablets, laptops etc. and asked to talk about themselves and their future in an interview situation. Despite student protests when faced with the challenge, the benefits of the student focus of the exercise were clear.

The outcomes of the module were:

• High levels of student engagement in their career development process
• High levels of student achievement
• High levels of staff satisfaction
• Positive student feedback
• High levels of student stress and anxiety