Designing Courses for Higher Education

By Susan Toohey | Go to book overview

9
Assessment

Making decisions about the assessment scheme

Although individual academics often have considerable freedom to decide what and how they will teach, when it comes to assessment it seems that everybody has a stake and makes demands on the assessment system.

Students want to know first of all what is expected of them. Their previous experience has usually led them to believe that expectations and standards can vary markedly with each new teacher and that it is necessary to work out what will be required here. While they may have noted the learning outcomes and objectives in the course description, past experience tells them that these will have little to do with what is assessed. Their first requirement of the assessment scheme is that it should be as clear as possible about what needs to be done and how it will be judged.

Then they need to know how they are getting on — whether they will pass the course, whether they are doing as well as they think they are. If they are not doing well they want to know what they would have to do in order to do better, what good performance looks like. And many want recognition of their achievements, something that they can show to future employers or graduate schools.

Teachers also need to know how they are getting on. They want to know whether their students are understanding the key concepts and mastering the skills, and whether they are ready for more advanced work. They also use assessment tasks to motivate students to study and keep up to date. They want to know that their assessment standards are comparable with colleagues' and that, if they maintain high standards, students will not desert them for easier marks elsewhere. And on occasions they want to use their students' assessment results to prove to others that they are effective teachers.

Institutions need to be able to show that their standards are high; that graduates are achieving the high standards set for them; and that they are fit for professional practice or graduate study. They want to distinguish the best performers by honours and scholarships. They prefer faculties and departments to

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Designing Courses for Higher Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgements *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Pressures for Change 4
  • 2: The Course Design Process 21
  • 3: Beliefs, Values and Ideologies in Course Design 44
  • 4: Thinking About Goals and Content 70
  • 5: The Structure of the Course 91
  • 6: Making Learning Opportunities More Flexible 113
  • 7: Deciding on Goals and Objectives for Units of Study 130
  • 8: Choosing Teaching Strategies 152
  • 9: Assessment 167
  • 10: Implementing the New Course 187
  • References 205
  • Index 211
  • The Society for Research into Higher Education 217
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