Advice for Choosing Alternative Assessments

Description

DCU has issued a set of guiding principles to inform the development and approval of alternative assessments. The authors unpack these principles here and link them to a set of actions to guide the choice of alternative assessments in the immediate term.

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

The overriding concern and key principle underpinning all tests and assessments is that the inferences based on students’ performance are valid. Validity refers to the accuracy of the inferences and descriptions of performance (e.g. First Class Honours; Second Class Honours, Grade l; Second Class Honours, Grade ll; Third Class Honours). Of course assessments must also be reliable. Reliability refers to the consistency of the information we are using to make decisions about our students. The extent to which different graders are applying the same criteria to judge a performance is an example. However, we need to remember that some assessments can be consistently inaccurate. In other words, an assessment can be reliable but lead to decisions with low validity. The resource presents some reflective questions around assessment practice and format. Please remember that even during normal testing times there is no such thing as a perfect assessment and these questions are not meant to overwhelm. All that is required of anyone is that we do our best. Please let your colleagues know about this document if you think it will be helpful to them. There are additional assessment related resources on the CARPE and NIDL websites you might like to consult.

Related OER

Tutors is an professional and intuitive platform for the creation of compelling educational content. It is open source, well documented and now used by upwards of 160 modules at Waterford Institute of Technology. The platform employs the latest thinking in the production of media-rich web content, with a focus on delivering a simple, easy to navigate, elegant and compelling student experience. A central goal of Tutors is to fostering the sense on an online community of learners. These interactions are promoted by a set of non-intrusive measurements (we call TutorsTime) which help students and educators understand the use of the student’s time on a module.

A book chapter was also published as part of the initiative, which can be found here https://reader.tutors.dev/#/talk/wit-hdip-comp-sci-showcase.netlify.app/unit-3/talk-1-course-philosophy/course-philosophy.pdf

Developed from the initiative ” Enhancing Online Language Learning: Training the trainers and engaging the learners” the LILAC Project aims to help language teachers and learners to transform digital challenges into opportunities and acquire the digital proficiency needed to maximise the benefits afforded by e-learning.

Bookended by puberty and culturally defined adult roles, it is now established that adolescence extends from age 10 to age 24. The inner workings of the adolescent brain and how these workings develop and are expressed in behaviours and engagement with the external world have been the focus of an explosion of research inquiry. Seated in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, cognitive abilities such as decision-making, planning, self-control, social interaction and self-awareness only develop by the mid-twenties. In addition, the brain regions governing risk-taking and reward are intensely active in adolescence, and so influence behaviour, which is also shaped by context and expectations of others.

To realise student success, higher education institutions must take into account that the majority (88% in 2017/2018) (HEA, 2018) of their students are still adolescents, without fully developed cognitive, social, emotional and self-regulatory capacities, living and learning in a socio-cultural environment that offers less external regulation than ever before. The knowledge that many students in higher education are in developmental transition spotlights opportunities to construct academic and campus contexts that supports this transition.

Drawing on this knowledge, and expertise in occupational science/therapy, psychology and neuroscience, we held ‘DOTS – Developing Opportunities for Transitions in Students’ Seminar to inform stakeholders of the biobehavioural transitions that influence undergraduate wellbeing and academic achievement in the current socio-cultural climate. The seminar was led by Dr. Eithne Hunt (Dept. Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy), Dr. Samantha Dockray (School of Applied Psychology), and Prof. Yvonne Nolan (Dept. Anatomy & Neuroscience), and 64 attendees gathered across academic and professional services and HEIs nationally. Presentation topics ranged from brain development in adolescence, to risks and opportunities relating to student life, and practical strategies for enhancing student success. Cross-sector participation was facilitated through panel discussion on learning, teaching, assessment and student support strategies. Opportunities for HE staff and structures to leverage the potential of developmental transitions that influence academic experiences and graduate attributes were discussed. The seminar was well received by staff across a range of disciplines, in particular, attendees commented on the range of perspectives presented, the strong evidence-base, and the applied value of the content presented, as it relates to the students’ experience in HEIs.

FYMMO – Final Year Matters – Moving On is an initiative that supports students in their final and penultimate years in their undergraduate degree, as well as graduates. The purpose of the initiative is to provide information, guidance and advice to help transitioning students; it works in conjunction with our First Year initiative as a ‘bookend’ to the undergraduate student experience. Additionally, it supports the lecturing staff with resources that are available to them to utilise and reinforce their teaching.

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URL: https://www.dcu.ie/sites/default/files/carpe/advice_for_choosing_alternative_assessments_1.pdf

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