Friday, December 01, 2017

Assessing Learning Conference, DAY 3

Day 3 dawns fine and warm. The weather across the entire week has been very summery. Hopefully a prelude to a good summer.

Begins with supporting colleagues Maaike Jongerius, John Delany and Lyn Williams from the Academic Division at Ara Institute of Canterbury, presenting the ‘assessment health check tool’. This is a moodle resource to support Ara tutors with ensuring their assessments are constructively aligned. Rationalised the pedagogical frame for undertaking the development for the moodle resource. If assessment drives learning then improvement of assessments will be a core objective. The resource had to cover the principles of assessment but not be too basic for staff who have completed teaching qualifications recently. The integrated activities in the health check can be completed online or as part of a facilitated workshop. The moodle site was brought up and examples of various worksheets / exemplars and the reasons and background on how they are used. Evaluations of the resource, the likes and dislikes, also shared. Presented on what Ara is committed to progress work on assessment practices.

Then Dr. Salome Meyer and Nancy Groh, educational advisors in the education development centre from Eastern Institute of Technology / Napier on ‘the changing conversation about early diagnostic assessment’. Outlined background, original premise / benefits and evolution of LNAAT. The tool is one of several developed to support the NZ government strategy to raise the capability of the workforce. Rationalised the need to change the approach to using diagnostic assessments. Matched literacy and numeracy demands in various occupations – what reading or calculation is required everyday at work? Provided a guide to tutors to better integrate literacy and numeracy within situated learning off-job. Addressed the issue of international students and their distinct needs. Developed academic inquiry course(non-credit bearing) to assist international students to orientate to the NZ educational demands. Developed a revised view of literacy diagram to summarise the different concepts.

Last session is a panel with Geoff Scott, Shaima Al Ansari and Tracey Bretag on ‘What will you do on Monday?’ Panel presented their takes on – what is the single key message you will take away? What single thing will you do, or do differently? What would you tell your boss they need to do? A question and answer session followed.

All in a good opportunity to achieve several things. One was the affirmation of my own understanding and application of the principles of learning -centred assessments. The various attended, all provided some templates, exemplars, concepts and tools useful in both my educational developer and researcher roles. Thankfully, many of the sessions I selected, focused on assessment FOR learning, although there was still a thread running through on summative assessments, prevention of plagiarism etc. Many presentations were on problem / inquiry / project based learning but not many examples from the vocational education / trades learning context. Therefore, as always, there is still a need for more ‘structured’ inquiry and study to build an evidence base of how to assist trades learning.

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