Closing the GAP: addressing educational inequality through authentic assessment

O'Brien, Rhona and Harvey, Tina ORCID logo ORCID: (2017) Closing the GAP: addressing educational inequality through authentic assessment. In: 6th International AHE Conference (Assessment in Higher Education), 28-29 June 2017, Manchester, UK. (Unpublished)

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‘Authentic assessment has been proposed as having potential to enhance student learning for a changing world' (Vu & Dall'Alba, 2014:778). Assessment has a powerful influence on student approaches to learning and within Higher Education, assessment continues to be a necessary expectation of student life. However, what has been changing over recent years are the types of assessment being used (Ashford-Rowe, Herrington & Brown, 2014). The days of rolling out one written essay after another as module summative assessments are ending. One driver for this is student employability because although communication in writing and orally is a skillset in demand by employers in the global marketplace, many assignments still take the form of ‘academic exercises' (Larkin 2014: 36). Therefore, educators are moving with the times and appreciating the benefits of more innovative assessment designs. The Working with Children and Families undergraduate degree programme at the University of Cumbria attracts students who are aiming to develop a career in the children's workforce. Students are encouraged to undertake volunteer work in relevant settings in order to learn from practical experience. The course also promotes group work activities and assessment methods, such as presentations, to nurture group dynamics and team working skills. To further enhance a year three module ‘Multi-Agency Working in Safeguarding and Child Protection' an authentic summative assessment was introduced. ‘Authentic assessment activities are designed to mimic the complexity of ‘real world' situations that students may encounter in professional life, and require the application of a combination of skills related to knowledge, skills and attitude' (Raymond et al, 2012:471). Wiggins considers a more straightforward definition and suggests authentic assessment is ‘when we directly examine student performance on worthy intellectual tasks' (1990: n.p.). The Working with Children and Families programme provides opportunities for a wide diversity of students and provides some places as part of a widening participation approach. Analysis suggests that the authentic assessment helps to enable all our students to develop, demonstrate and gain credit for their academic skills and also their professional skills and reflective thinking.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Children, Youth, Families and Community Work
Additional Information: Rhona O'Brien was Senior Lecturer, Department of Health, Psychology and Social Studies, University of Cumbria, UK January 2014 - July 2017.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 15:32
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 17:46


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