Levelling expectations across different years in an undergraduate degree to support work-related learning : evidence for a multi-pronged approach.

Cordiner, Moira, Stenzel, Deborah J., & Hafner, Louise M. (2007) Levelling expectations across different years in an undergraduate degree to support work-related learning : evidence for a multi-pronged approach. In ATNEAC2007 Book of Proceedings, Department of Teaching and Learning Support Services, QUT, Brisbane, Qld. (QUT Kelvin Grove), pp. 17-25.

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One of the ways in which university departments and faculties can enhance the quality of learning and assessment is to develop a ‘well thought out criterion‐referenced assessment system’ (Biggs, 2003, p. 271). In designing undergraduate degrees (courses) this entails making decisions about the levelling of expectations across different years through devising objectives and their corresponding criteria and standards: a process of alignment analogous to what happens in unit (subject) design. These decisions about levelling have important repercussions in terms of supporting students’ work‐related learning, especially in relation to their ability to cope with the increasing cognitive and skill demands made on them as they progress through their studies. They also affect the accountability of teacher judgments of students’ responses to assessment tasks, achievement of unit objectives and, ultimately, whether students are awarded their degrees and are sufficiently prepared for the world of work. Research reveals that this decision‐making process is rarely underpinned by an explicit educational rationale (Morgan et al, 2002). The decision to implement criterion referenced assessment in an undergraduate microbiology degree was the impetus for developing such a rationale because of the implications for alignment, and therefore ‘levelling’ of expectations across different years of the degree. This paper provides supporting evidence for a multi‐pronged approach to levelling, through backward mapping of two revised units (foundation and exit year). This approach adheres to the principles of alignment while combining a work‐related approach (via industry input) with the blended disciplinary and learner‐centred approaches proposed by Morgan et al. (2002). It is suggested that this multi‐pronged approach has the potential for making expectations, especially work‐related ones across different year levels of degrees, more explicit to students and future employers.

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ID Code: 28798
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Teaching Evaluation and Assessment, Undergraduate Degrees
ISBN: 1741071356
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2009 02:22
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:40

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