Thursday, November 30, 2017

Assessing learning conference - DAY 2

A full day starting a 9am.

First up, Keynote panel – on the student voice facilitated by  Dr. Alistair Shaw with 4 students. As always a very valuable session. In short, students did not know about learning outcomes and how they connect to the assessment. Students preferred authentic assessments  which reflected real-world practice. Each institution has culture of practice and differen priorities. Not all have ability to provide authentic learning but assessments may be a means to bring authenticity into courses.

Andrew Kear with a team from the BCITO with ‘assessment in the workplace: principles for on-job assessment’. Gave out copies of publications relevant to NZ context. Shared the BCITO guiding principles and how they connected to Karen Vaughan and Marie Cameron’s good principles of workplace learning and assessments. A clear purpose for assessment is crucial. Provided overview of BCITO to apprentice support, workplace learning and assessment processes. Philosophy and approach is key with all BCITO understanding the distinct culture of BCITO. Belief in each learner is an individual. Group session to discuss how organisations may be able to support individualised learning programme. Assessments need to gather progressive evidence of learning and also be contextualised to be relevant to the learner. Learners should not be put through ‘hoops’ but have authentic evidence of learning recognised – maximising the use of naturally-occurring evidence. Evidence does not have to be written, could be video, aural etc. important to allow annotation of evidence. Moderation has to contribute to the validity and reliability of assessment decisions. Although time consuming and expensive, still has to take place and ‘communities of practice’ amongst ‘assessors’ and moderators, both taking part in the assessment. Moderation is a second opinion. Entire process requires appropriately recruited, trained and professionally developed people.

Followed by support of Faye Wilson-Hill and Niki Hannan from Ara Institute of Canterbury on their work with OneNote as an assessment tool. Provided background of the programme on why the assessment portfolio tool is used. Not only to be an assessment for learning resource but also to model to other teachers, a platform to support learning. Shared assessment principles – integrated into learning process, draws on learners’ experiences, encourages reflection and allows for multiple points for formative feedback. Moodle did not allow for all of these principles to be deployed. One note classroom notebook was selected as it allowed principles to use. Detailed process – how to start – shifting a word document into Onenote. Begin with familiar and work in the online environment first. Reflective practice has to be scaffolded. Showed example of how the notebooks used and structure of the notebook. Feedback is progressive as the course goes on so student have formative assessment for learning every 2 weeks.Feedback from tutors can be written or oral. Used a video capture (Panopto) for students to share portfolios if there is no collaborative space. Concluded with reflection on the process. Still learning but holds promise.

Then a choice of two plenary sessions after lunch. I select Dr. Eleanor Hawe’s on assessment for learning: A catalyst for student self-regulation. Defined assessments for learning and the second generation conceptualisations. In general, formative assessment research in school sector, formative feedback could be more dialogic; and the need to have explicit focus of pedagogy on preparing students to be independent learners. All assessment should support the advancement of student learning (Carless, 2015); assessment does not stand outside teaching and learning, but stands in dynamic interaction with it (Gipps, 1994); Students are no longer objects of their teachers’ behaviour but animators of their own effective learning (James & Pedder, 2006).
Second generation definition – assessment for learning is part of everyday practice by students, teachers and peers, that seeks, reflects upon and responds to information from dialogue, demonstration and observation in ways that enhance ongoing learning (Klenowski, 2009); Therefore, should be part of pedagogy – should be the formative use of assessment (not formative assessments). Aim to develop students as self-regulating learners who can monitor, regulate and control their thinking, behaviour and motivation while engaged in ‘academic tasks’. Sadler advocates that students need to know what is expected  (quality); sufficient evaluative knowledge and expertise to be able to compare current thinking / learning / performance; and a range of strategies to enable to effect improvement and further their thinking / learning / performance.
**Recommended five strategies. Promote student understanding about goals of learning and what constitutes expected performance; engineering effective discussion and activities including assessment tasks to promote and elicit evidence of learning; generate feedback (external and internal) that moves learning forward Use, notice, recognises, respond – Cowie & Bell, 1999); activate students as learning resources for each other; and activation of student ownership over and responsibility for their learning (Hawe & Dixon, 2017; Wiliam, 2011).
Provided an exemplar to illustrate the way in which 5 strategies are operationalised. Need to ensure contextualised to own discipline and practice. However, all 5 need to occur.

Then I present a short session on the eassessment project. The focus this time around, to connect assessments for learning and feedback opportunities to assisting students ‘learning to become’ as they strive and learn to meet graduate outcomes. Summarised the role of assessment for learning in assisting the student journey towards getting to the graduate profile. Details of the sub-projects and some interim findings. In particular, how to assist student to learn the many ‘qualities’ which are often difficult to describe and to work out where they are at and what they need to do to attain.

Followed by a session with Alastair Emerson from OPAIC on ‘developments in assessments for experiential, student centred and partially self-directed pedagogies’. Otago Polytechnic international based in Auckland’s student cohort tend to have only experienced chalk and talk, paint by numbers assessments and discouraged from forming own opinions. Flip learning has not worked, essays and exams are off limited use to assess capability, current assessments make passing the end goal, designed for a didactic knowledge transfer paradigm to constructive student co-created approach. Using formative assessments are incremental with worksheets and templates. Summative involves problem solving or project completion in a real world context involving actual company. Introduced experiential learning using guided self-directed discovery techniques, with diminished on texts, use templates and worksheets which suggest outcomes but do not necessarily have a set process. Need to make learning outcomes visible. Therefore move into project / problem / inquiry based learning. Provided example of worksheets and projects to encourage personalised learning.

Afternoon tea is followed by Plenary with Emeritus ProfessorGeoff Scott from Western Sydney University on assessing work-ready plus capabilities. Presented on the website flipcurric used to support the work. Advocates – good ideas with no ideas on how to implement them are wasted ideas and change does not happen but must be led, and deftly. Rationalised why bother about assessments. Learning impact is when learning design, aligned support and infrastructure and delivery intersect effectively. Summarised the 6 key components of a comprehensive, integrated HE assessment framework – check on flipcurric website. Focused on correct outcomes and assessments.
Learning outcomes – capabilities and competencies students are expected to demonstrate they have developed to a required standard by the end of a program or unit of study. Include personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities and the key knowledge and skills necessary for effective early career performance and societal participation. Shared his professional capability framework. Explained the subscales for each of the competences/capabilities. The Plus refers to future focus – sustainability, change savvy, creative and inventive, and clear where one stands on tacit assumptions driving current society. When through principles of powerful assessments and examples of types including key quality checks for assessment of prior learning and learning from experience.

Then Shaima Al Ansari reports on ‘the impact of PBL on employability skills development: The Bahrain Polytechnic industry project assessment case. Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied – Dale Carnegie. Explained rationale and context (business management studies). Project requires student to take on accountability, work with others as part of team. Assist with application of employability skills to attain professional identity. Summarised details of the industry project. A capstone project in the fourth and final year. Students set up a consultancy firm and are the associate consultants. Work with a real client on an ill structured / complex problem. Full time commitment with weekly 2 hour meeting with the academic supervisor who takes on the role of the HR specialist for the consultancy. Students have an orientation week before beginning. Project process detailed along with examples of guide sheets, assessment plans / schedules etc. Shared positive feedback from 'employers / clients' and  students. 

Networking session closes a busy day. Lots of reinforcement of principles we apply at Ara, the concepts underpinning the e-assessment project and some new ideas and resources to support educational development work and production of e-assessment guidelines.

No comments: