Redesigning assessment for learning beyond higher education

Redesigning assessment for learning beyond higher education,David Boud,Nancy Falchikov

Redesigning assessment for learning beyond higher education   (Citations: 10)
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An important rationale for higher education is that it equips students for learning beyond the point of graduation. Th is paper considers the role that assessment plays in this. It suggests we need to take a new perspective on assessment: assessment to promote learning throughout life. It focuses on ideas that can be used to contribute to the construction of assessment practices and on wider implications for course design. It concludes by exploring barriers to acceptance of this perspective and how they might be addressed. As is well understood, assessment fulfi ls more than one role. It grades students and eventually certifi cates them, but it also has a part to play in aiding their learning. While early books about assessment emphasised its summative function, seeing the student's role as that of test taker, the balance between these two functions has changed over recent decades, and the formative function now has greater prominence. Most early books about assessment featured examples of what Serafi ni (2000) called 'assessment as measurement'. Th is paradigm of assessment was followed, Serafi ni suggests, by two further paradigms: 'assessment as procedure' and 'assessment as enquiry'. Th e role of the student has also changed, and many teachers now aim to encourage their students to be active agents in their own learning. It would however be premature to suggest that the formative function of assessment is now central, even though many higher education institutions have policy statements that acknowledge it. Rowntree (1987) also identifi ed a further purpose of assessment. He argued that it should help prepare students for life. It is this purpose that interests and concerns us. Boud (2000) explored this purpose further, conceptualising it as 'sustainable assessment'. In this paper we ask how, and to what extent, assessment has a role in preparing students for learning in professional life. It is our belief that much current assessment is inadequate to the task of preparing learners for a lifetime of learning. However, there are some practices that have moved this agenda in the right direction. We shall look at some assessment initiatives that might contribute to preparation for lifelong learning and discuss implications of the agenda of lifelong assessment for the design of assessment practices.
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