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Digital Assessment and Assessment Culture


Part 3: Assessment Cultures

  • In this video, we explore the various narratives and images, which impact cultures around assessment i.e. how we understand the purpose of assessment more widely, and how this varies per discipline.
  • We also consider how understandings of student-staff roles, could impact the likelihood of new assessment types being adopted from both perspectives.

Full transcript:

[Three: Assessment Culture.

In the final video of this collection, we are going to be talking about assessment culture. So, what do I mean by assessment culture? When we talk about the use under purpose of digital assessment, it is critical that we contextualise digital assessment into wider frameworks around assessment itself. ie understandings of what assessment is its purpose and how the cultures we've created around the significance under function of assessment impact how we collectively understand adopt or dismiss digital assessment as an option for assessing learning. So, for example, if I believe the purpose of assessment is to illustrate what knowledge I've obtained, then I may see an exam as the most useful type of assessment compared with an essay for example, where I may argue that the purpose of assessment is the capacity to engage in Problem Based Learning compared to a presentation where I could argue that the purpose is to learn social skills for working in teams for future employability all of these conceptualizations offer different assessment practice based on how assessment is being understood as a means to express learning, and what counts as learning and what does not count as a learning outcome.

But I think assessment culture can also go beyond the function of the exercise. So for example, what do I believe it means to be an academic in my discipline? What is the biologists compared to a philosopher? What do they look like? How can I model what it means to exist in my field? Who am I aspiring to be in this space? I think assessment can call into question senses of identity in relation to discipline. So I'm a mathematician. So why would I do an essay for example, I am an English student, I'm a writer. So why would I do a video essay for the How to conveners facilitate under influence the idea of what it means to exist in certain disciplines? What narratives around the utility, purpose or function of assessment are influencing my perception of what types of assessments I should be doing? And how can these notions of academics in different spaces be challenged? In this sense, I look not necessarily to purely highlight some of the potential benefits of doing digital assessment, but more so to reflect on how we understand what it means to be a type of academic, both students and staff, and how this may be influencing perceptions of digital assessment.

Equally, how does discipline and modelling impact our relationship with expectations and outcomes? Ie is the outcome of an assessment, the grade, the learning the skills, the capacity to add to my CV, employability social functions, what is expected of me? And what do I expect of myself. So, as highlighted, I think assessment culture can be largely influenced by the narratives we produce around assessment function and utility, as well as being influenced by images of academics within various disciplines within the cultural imaginary, but to further images, which I think can largely influence assessment culture that are in dialogue with one another, because what we believe it means to be a student and what it means to be a staff member under module convener.

Frequently, we can collectively fall into certain patterns of understanding students staff relationships. For example, students as consumers of knowledge and staff as producers of knowledge. This can be negatively impactful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is likely to discourage students from recognising that which they have to offer in their respective academic spaces, and the strength of their own knowledge and their voices as co creators. This may result in students being less likely to disseminate their assessments under their learning through for example, undergraduate journals, or within online mediums, but also it can be negatively impactful on staff.

When we see students as solely consumers, staff are consequently seen solely as service providers. This can lead to assumptions that content and delivery and being must be infallible. both students and staff therefore, feel the weight of what is expected of them to get it right within this transaction model. But what does this mean for change or growth? If I'm a convener, and I feel I'm expected to be perfect I'd be put off adopting a digital assessment for my modules by virtue of the fact that I am unfamiliar with digital assessment with how to mark or prepare my students for a digital assessment, that I may not immediately get it right or be perfect in the process, that I may make a mistake or somehow let down the consumer cohort. When we construct staff as teachers, we assume somehow that they are not equally learners. And I think a huge aspect of what will discourage students and staff from Digital assessment within the cultures around assessment that we exist within is this fear of expectation of what is assumed of me and I think humanising both sides in the process of learning.

Further recognising both sides as co creators within a dialogue of knowledge creation, reduces fear, as each side is respected as a human that can and will make mistakes. Further, there is something hugely valuable in removing the deficit language around these mistakes even in the world. itself and rather see these as moments of learning as they can be hugely rich as reflective material, and are a part of making the academic community itself sustainable to exist within. Because it is allowed to be a community of beings with limitations and imaginations and entities that are forever learning that I would urge students and staff to adopt this pedagogy of humanised and co created learning. In order to alleviate resistance to change to new assessments, new formats, new pedagogies of thinking on both sides are expected to make mistakes and to be human.

In the previous videos, we discussed what digital assessment is, and reflected on how we could consider what the consequences of adopting digital assessment could be. I asked now that we reflect on what the purpose of assessment is, in and of itself, why we assess Who are we assessing who is teaching and who is learning, what is the learning outcome and what is the learning outcome but it's not recognise this one and how does humanising fallibility modelling narrative and the cultural imaginary within academia play into what we believe is to be assessed.]

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Meet the team

These resources were created by a co-creation team of students and staff in the Faculty of Arts. Student creators: Charlotte Crabtree (English), Lucia Evans (SMLC), Lily Rose Fitzmaurice (Liberal Arts), Weiqi Guo (Film & TV), Beccy Lee (History) and Ishraq Subhan (History/Politics).

The project was funded by the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA), and lead by Dr. Rebecca Stone (Faculty of Arts) with Dr. Bryan Brazeau (Liberal Arts) as a project partner and Mr. Todd Olive (Graduate, Global Sustainable Development).

Many thanks to Damien Homer, Jess Humphreys, Bo Kelestyn, Heather Meyer, Robert O'Toole and Elena Riva, for their time and expertise.

Check out students digital assessment submissions to the DAL Showcase 2020


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