Assessment Matters in Higher Education: Choosing and Using Diverse Approaches

By Sally Brown; Angela Glasner | Go to book overview

11
Group-based Assessment: An
Evaluation of the Use of Assessed
Tasks as a Method of Fostering
Higher Quality Learning

Mike Heathfield


Introduction

The focus in this chapter is on a key element relevant to depth of learning, activity and interaction (Biggs and Telfer 1987), in the form of assessed group work. The majority of our course innovations were driven by changes in the nature of assessment and a more detailed exploration of the motivations behind this can be found elsewhere (Bloxham and Heathfield 1994). I am indebted to my colleague, Sue Bloxham, for her development and research on the induction course which forms the first section of this piece and is covered in more detail elsewhere (Bloxham 1997).

We have been involved in research into course development and innovation within our department since 1993. We are both tutors with responsibility for the professional training of youth and community workers within a higher education context. We have responsibility for two major courses: a three-year undergraduate programme which awards a BA in Community and Youth Studies (CYS), in which the professional training elements are contained within the first two years, and a postgraduate professional Certificate in Youth and Community Work taught over one year or five terms part-time. Over a number of years, both these courses have undergone considerable development brought about by our desire to maximize the opportunity for students to operate their learning at 'deep' levels (Ramsden 1992) and to produce more capable and employable professional youth and community workers.

Since 1994 we have continued to develop our approach to group work and there are a number of key reasons why this particular methodology has received such an investment within our professional courses, not least the

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