Browsing Centre for Educational Development by Title
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Improving Work Based Assessment: Addressing grade inflation numerically or pedagogically?Work based assessment (WBA) is a common but contentious practice increasingly used to grade university students on professional degrees. A key issue in WBA is the potentially low assessment literacy of the assessors, which can lead to a host of unintended results, including grade inflation. We identified grade inflation in the WBA of the clinical module analysed for this study, and to address it we trialled two adjustments over a four-year period. The first and simpler adjustment, reducing the academic weighting of the WBA component of the module, appeared to lower grade inflation but actually had the inverse effect over time. The second adjustment, introducing a structured formative assessment, reduced the average WBA grade both initially and over time. In addition to this desired result, the second adjustment has brought ongoing benefits to the learning and teaching on the module as a whole.
Team-based Learning: Engaging learners and creating team accountabilityTeam-based Learning (TBL) is a new teaching strategy that may take small group learning to a new level of effectiveness. TBL shifts the focus from content delivery by teachers to the application of course content by student teams. Teams work on authentic problems, make collaborative decisions, and develop problem-solving skills required in their future workplace. Prior to redesigning the MPharm programme according to TBL principles, several pilots were set up to research how students responded to this new way of teaching. One pilot focussed on the introduction of TBL as a phenomena and aimed to find out if and how TBL engaged students, how students were held accountable by their teams, and more importantly how that affected their lifeworld. Ashworth’s lifeworld contingencies provided the theoretical framework as it ranges from students’ selfhood, embodiment and social interactions to their ability to carry out tasks they are committed to and regard as essential (Ashworth, 2003).