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Transferring knowledge through peer-reviewed assessment : the creation of a community of practice and the threats to its survival

Taylor, Suzanne (2011) Transferring knowledge through peer-reviewed assessment : the creation of a community of practice and the threats to its survival. Research and Development in Higher Education : Higher Education on the Edge, 34, pp. 340-359.

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Abstract

While it is generally accepted in the learning and teaching literature that assessment is the single biggest influence on how students approach their learning, assessment methods within higher education are generally conservative and inflexible. Constrained by policy and accreditation requirements and the need for the explicit articulation of assessment standards for public accountability purposes, assessment tasks can fail to engage students or reflect the tasks students will face in the world of practice.

Innovative assessment design can simultaneously deliver program objectives and active learning through a knowledge transfer process which increases student participation. This social constructivist view highlights that acquiring an understanding of assessment processes, criteria and standards needs active student participation.

Within this context, a peer-assessed, weekly, assessment task was introduced in the first “serious” accounting subject offered as part of an undergraduate degree. The positive outcomes of this assessment innovation was that student failure rates declined 15%, tutorial participation increased fourfold, tutorial engagement increased six-fold and there was a 100% approval rating for the retention of the assessment task.

In contributing to the core conference theme of “seismic” shifts within higher education, in stark contrast to the positive student response, staff-related issues of assessment conservatism and the necessity of meeting increasing research commitments, threatened the assessment task’s survival. These opposing forces to change have the potential to weaken the ability of higher education assessment arrangements to adequately serve either a new generation of students or the sector's community stakeholders.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 48132
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Social Constructivism, Student Engagement, Assessment Conservatism, HERN
ISSN: 1441-001X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Copyright © 2011 HERDSA and the authors
Copyright Statement: Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act, 2005, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licenses issued by the copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers at the address above.
Deposited On: 18 Jan 2012 22:30
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 02:34

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