Demonstrating quality outcomes in learning and teaching: examining 'best practice' in the use of criterion-referenced assessment

Hammer, Sara (2007) Demonstrating quality outcomes in learning and teaching: examining 'best practice' in the use of criterion-referenced assessment. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 3 (1). pp. 50-58.

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Australian universities are now required to meet a range of quality assurance benchmarks related to learning and teaching excellence, which are evaluated by the government’s Learning and Teaching Performance Fund. Consequently, they must now develop ways to demonstrate attainment of these prescribed benchmarks. One pedagogical practice adopted by Australian universities, as a way of identifying and demonstrating stated learning outcomes, is the use of criterion-referenced assessment. Fundamentally, assessment criteria should do two things: first, they should clearly articulate the desired qualities or characteristics of students’ work that are relevant to the task being assessed ; second, they should show the relationship between the stated learning objectives of a course, and the type of assessment task being used. However, correctly applied, assessment criteria also potentially contribute to students’ learning by enabling them to develop a sense of judgement in relation to their own performance. They also potentially provide the means for articulating appropriate disciplinary standards at a course level. Yet the usefulness of assessment criteria is potentially undermined by issues such as vagueness, confusion over the relationship between criteria and standards, a lack of consensus over the interpretation of criteria within teaching teams and disciplines, and the challenge of articulating desirable qualities for assessment tasks that require complex, higher-order thinking. This paper will address these issues by reviewing relevant higher education literature and proposing six principles of good practice for the use of criterion-referenced assessment.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Copyright of articles is retained by authors. As this is an open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Paper originally presented at the 3rd International Conference on Pedagogies and Learning, 27-28th Sept, 2007.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2007 02:30
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 05:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: criterion-referenced; assessment; quality assurance; standards; pedagogical practice; learning outcomes; criterion-referenced assessment; assessment criteria; higher education; higher education research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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