Assessment might dictate the curriculum, but what dictates assessment?

  • Phillip Dawson Monash University
  • Margaret Bearman Monash University
  • David J. Boud University of Technology, Sydney
  • Matt Hall Monash University
  • Elizabeth K. Molloy Monash University
  • Sue Bennett University of Woolongong
  • Gordon Joughin University of Queensland
Keywords: assessment, decision-making, design, research, evidence

Abstract

Almost all tertiary educators make assessment choices, for example, when they create an assessment task, design a rubric, or write multiple-choice items. Educators potentially have access to a variety of evidence and materials regarding good assessment practice but may not choose to consult them or be successful in translating these into practice. In this article, we propose a new challenge for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: the need to study the disjunction between proposals for assessment “best practice” and assessment in practice by examining the assessment decision-making of teachers. We suggest that assessment decision-making involves almost all university teachers, occurs at multiple levels, and is influenced by expertise, trust, culture, and policy. Assessment may dictate the curriculum from the student’s perspective, and we argue that assessment decision-making dictates assessment.

Author Biographies

Phillip Dawson, Monash University
Phillip Dawson is a lecturer in Learning and Teaching, Office of the pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Monash University.
Margaret Bearman, Monash University
Margaret Bearman is a senior lecturer in the Health Professions Education and Educational Research Team, (HealthPEER) within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.
David J. Boud, University of Technology, Sydney
David Boud is Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney.
Matt Hall, Monash University
Matt Hall is Educational Excellence Coordinator in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching), Monash University.
Elizabeth K. Molloy, Monash University
Elizabeth Molloy is director of the HealthPEER team in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.
Sue Bennett, University of Woolongong
Sue Bennett is Associate Professor of ICT in Education and Director of the Education IT Centre in the Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong.
Gordon Joughin, University of Queensland
Gordon Joughin is Acting Director of the Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI), University of Queensland and a Visiting Professor at Leeds Metropolitan University.

References

Bennett, S., Thomas, L., Agostinho, S., Lockyer, L., Jones, J., & Harper, B. (2011). Understanding the design context for Australian university teachers: Implications for the future of learning design. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(2), 151-167. doi: 10.1080/17439884.2011.553622

Boud, D. (1995). Assessment and learning: Contradictory or complementary. In P. Knight (Ed.), Assessment for Learning in Higher Education (pp. 35-48). London: Kogan Page.

Boud, D. (2000). Sustainable Assessment: Rethinking assessment for the learning society. Studies in Continuing Education, 22(2), 151-167. doi: 10.1080/713695728

Boud, D. (2007). Reframing assessment as if learning were important. In D. Boud & N. Falchikov (Eds.), Rethinking Assessment in Higher Education: Learning for the longer term (pp. 14-28). London: Routledge.

Carless, D. (2009). Trust, distrust and their impact on assessment reform. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(1), 79-89. doi: 10.1080/02602930801895786

Eley, M. (2006). Teachers’ conceptions of teaching, and the making of specific decisions in planning to teach. Higher Education, 51(2), 191-214. doi: 10.1007/s10734-004-6382-9

Joughin, G. (2009). Assessment, learning and judgement in higher education: A critical review. In G. Joughin (Ed.), Assessment, Learning and Judgement in Higher Education (pp. 13-27): Springer Netherlands.

Kreber, C. (2002). Teaching excellence, teaching expertise, and the scholarship of teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 27(1), 5-23. doi: 10.1023/a:1020464222360

Marsh, E., Roediger, H., Bjork, R., & Bjork, E. (2007). The memorial consequences of multiple-choice testing. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), 194-199. doi: 10.3758/bf03194051

Offerdahl, E. G., & Tomanek, D. (2011). Changes in instructors’ assessment thinking related to experimentation with new strategies. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(7), 781-795. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2010.488794

Price, M., Carroll, J., O’Donovan, B., & Rust, C. (2011). If I was going there I wouldn’t start from here: A critical commentary on current assessment practice. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(4), 479-492. doi: 10.1080/02602930903512883

Ramsden, P. (1992). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge.

Straus, S.E., Tetroe, J., & Graham, I. (2009) Defining knowledge translation. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 181(3-4), 165-168.

Published
2013-03-01
How to Cite
Dawson, Phillip, Margaret Bearman, David J. Boud, Matt Hall, Elizabeth K. Molloy, Sue Bennett, and Gordon Joughin. 2013. “Assessment Might Dictate the Curriculum, But What Dictates Assessment?”. Teaching & Learning Inquiry 1 (1), 107-11. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.1.107.