How might inclusive approaches to assessment enhance student learning in HE?

John Butcher, Paul Sedgwick, Lisa Lazard, Jayne Hey

Abstract


This article reports some of the results from an investigation into issues around inclusivity in assessment undertaken at the University of Northampton (2009-2010). The Assess4success research project was conducted within a framework provided by the Higher Education Academy Summit programme on inclusive learning and teaching, and sought to explore the extent to which inclusivity, (a high level commitment in the university’s access and teaching policies), was embedded in students’ experiences of assessment. Drawing on internal quantitative data across the institution suggesting specific groups were more likely to struggle with summative assessment in Year 1, and qualitative data exploring sample student experiences in relation to formative assessment tasks, a series of generic recommendations to enhance the inclusivity of assessment practice both in the host institution and across the sector are offered.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bevan, P. and Sambell, K. (2007) Student Peer Mentoring: an Assessment for Learning (AfL) perspective, Newcastle: Northumbria University CETL AfL.

Darlaston-Jones, D, Cohen, L, Pike, L and Drew, N. (2003) Systematic oppression in higher education", Australian Journal of Psychology. 55 (supplement): 175-80.

Equality Act (2010) http://www.equalities.gov.uk/pdf/401727 ESRC (2007) TLRP project Enhancing the Quality and Outcomes of Disabled Students' Learning in Higher Education, http://www.tlrp.org/proj/phase111/fuller.htm

Ertl, H, Hayward, G. and Hoelscher, M. (2009) Learners" transition from vocational education and training to higher education" in David, M. (ed.) Improving learning by widening participation. London: Routledge.

Farmer, M, Riddick, B and Sterling, C. (2002) Dyslexia and inclusion: Assessment and support in higher education. London: Whurr.

Gravestock, P. (2006) Developing an inclusive curriculum: a guide for lecturers, Cheltenham: Geography Discipline Network, available at http://resources.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/dlecture.pdf

Harrington, K, Bakshi, S, Shannon, L, Norton, L, Norton, B, Elander, J and Reddy, P. (2007) University lecturers" beliefs about how examinations help students learn, conference poster, EARLI, Budapest. Hatt, S. and Baxter, A. (2003) From FE to HE: Studies in transition", Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 5, (2): 18-29.

Hockings, C. (2010) Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: a synthesis of research, York, Higher Education Academy, available at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/ourwork/evidencenet/Inclusive_learning_and_teac hing_in_higher_education_synthesis

Hramiak, A, Holden, G, Glover, C, and Boulton, H. (2009) Understanding students" prior experiences of assessment and feedback, Escalate report. http://escalate.ac.uk/4313 Jessen, A. and Elander, J. (2009) Ready for University: Preparing FE students for writing at University", Response. 4, (2): University of Derby. http://www.derby.ac.uk/response/

McDowell, L. (2008) Negotiating assignment pathways: students and academic assignments", Teaching in Higher Education. 13, (4): 423-435. McGann, D, King, S and Sillence, E. (2007) Information leaflets: an evaluation of an innovative form of assessment", Psychology Learning and Teaching. 7, (1): 19-22.

Nicol, D. (2007a) Principles of good assessment and feedback: Theory and practice. From the REAP International Online Conference on Assessment Design for Learner Responsibility, 29th- 31st May, 2007 http://www.reap.ac.uk/reap07/Portals/2/CSL/keynotes/david%20nicol/Principles_of_good_assessment_and_feedback.pdf

Nicol, D. (2007b) Laying a foundation for lifelong learning: Case studies of e-assessment in large 1st-year classes", British Journal of Educational Technology. 38 (4): 668–678.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00657.x

Nicol, D. (2009a) Transforming assessment and feedback: enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year, Scottish Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education. http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/documents/firstyear/First_Year_Transforming_Assess.pdf

Nicol, D. (2009b), Assessment for learner self-regulation: Enhancing achievement in the first year using learning technologies", Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 34 (3): 335- 352 Nicol, D. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice", Studies in Higher Education. 31 (2):199- 218.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075070600572090

Norton, L. (2007) Using assessment to promote quality learning in higher education", in Campbell, A. & Norton, L. (eds) Learning, Teaching and assessment in Higher Education, Learning Matters: Exeter. Norton, L, Harrington, K, Norton, B and Shannon, L. (2006) Challenging traditional forms of assessment: University teachers" views on examinations [conference paper], ISSOTL: Washington.

Passmann, T and Green, R. (2009) Start with the syllabus: universal design from the top", Journal of Access Services, 6, (1/2): 48-58. Porter, A (2008) The great NUS feedback amnesty", National Union of Students. HE Focus. (1).

Riddell, S and Weedon, E. (2006) What counts as a reasonable adjustment? Dyslexic students and the concept of fair assessment", International Studies in Sociology of Education. 16, (1): 57- 73. Simons, H. and Hicks, J. (2006) Opening Doors: Using the creative arts in learning and teaching", Arts & Humanities in Higher Education. 5, (1):77-89.

Waterfield, J. and West, B. (2006) Inclusive assessment in higher education: a resource for change. Report on the HEFCE funded SPACE (Staff-Student Partnership for Assessment Change and Evaluation) project, University of Plymouth & South West Academic Network for Disability Support (SWANDS). Available from http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=10494




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14234/elehe.v2i1.14