Thursday, 3 June 2010

H800: Week 16 – David Boud’s Lecture

Due to time constraints I only watched the brief extract of this lecture, but I hope to find time to watch the whole thing, because David Boud is (I think) one of the leading authorities on problem-based learning, and I would like to hear what he's got to say.

This short extract was about assessment, and I think there were some interesting issues raised. I can certainly relate to his points about universities' assessment policies and the emphasis they place on "protecting our backs".

I liked his idea of 'sustainable assessment' which he defined as:

"Assessment which meets the needs of the present (certification, formative assessment, etc.) without compromising the ability of students to meet their own future learning needs."

He says that we need to create assessments which not only serve the immediate purpose but also make a significant contribution to students' learning after they leave us, i.e. it builds something over and above the immediate task.

As I am currently in the midst of preparing for end of year assessment boards which begin next week, this seems strangely pertinent. Having spent quite a lot of time over the past few weeks marking exams and wondering what on earth some of my students have actually learnt, I really start to question some of the traditional assessment processes. I've never been a big fan of exams as an assessment method, and I think well-designed coursework assignments can come much closer to Boud's ideal, but unfortunately 'the system' does tend to expect a certain proportion of assessment in which students do not have the opportunity to simply copy and paste material from other sources.

I had hoped we might explore the issue of assessment in greater detail at some stage in the course, but looking at the programme I don't think we do.

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