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How university teachers design assessments: a cross-disciplinary study

Bearman, Margaret, Dawson, Phillip, Bennett, S, Hall, M, Molloy, E, Boud, David and Joughin, G 2016, How university teachers design assessments: a cross-disciplinary study, Higher education, vol. 74, pp. 49-64, doi: 10.1007/s10734-016-0027-7.

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Title How university teachers design assessments: a cross-disciplinary study
Author(s) Bearman, MargaretORCID iD for Bearman, Margaret
Dawson, Phillip
Bennett, S
Hall, M
Molloy, EORCID iD for Molloy, E
Boud, David
Joughin, G
Journal name Higher education
Volume number 74
Start page 49
End page 64
Total pages 16
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-07-22
ISSN 0018-1560
Keyword(s) assessment
academic context
academic experiences
academic practice
teaching skills
Social Sciences
Education & Educational Research
Summary There are dissonances between educators’ aspirations for assessment design and actual assessment implementation in higher education. Understanding how assessment is designed ‘on the ground’ can assist in resolving this tension. Thirty-three Australian university educators from a mix of disciplines and institutions were interviewed. A thematic analysis of the transcripts indicated that assessment design begins as a response to an impetus for change. The design process itself was shaped by environmental influences, which are the circumstances surrounding the assessment design, and professional influences, which are those factors that the educators themselves bring to the process. A range of activities or tasks were undertaken, including those which were essential to all assessment design, those more selective activities which educators chose to optimise the assessment process in particular ways and meta-design processes which educators used to dynamically respond to environmental influences. The qualitative description indicates the complex social nature of interwoven personal and environmental influences on assessment design and the value of an explicit and strategic ways of thinking within the constraints and affordances of a local environment. This suggests that focussing on relational forms of professional development that develops strategic approaches to assessment may be beneficial. The role of disciplinary approaches may be significant and remains an area for future research.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10734-016-0027-7
Field of Research 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130103 Higher Education
1301 Education Systems
1303 Specialist Studies In Education
Socio Economic Objective 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer Science + Business Media Dordrecht
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE)
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