Improving learning through engagement: students as collaborators in assessment

Russell, Daniel and Avery, Barry (2015) Improving learning through engagement: students as collaborators in assessment. In: 14th European Conference on Research Methodology (ECRM) for Business and Management Studies; 11-12 Jun 2015, Valletta, Malta. ISSN (print) 2049-0968 ISBN 9781910810118


As business educators we are encouraged to develop innovative learning, teaching and assessment practices which engage, motivate and enthuse students. In the UK we are required by our quality assurance agency (QAA) to value the student contribution, and are prompted by the Government to narrow the achievement gap between students from traditional and non-traditional backgrounds. Guided by these drivers and the philosophy of assessment for learning ratherthan assessment of learning (Wiliam, 2011), we recently developed a novel form of assessment on data analysis on a first year Business module. In this paper we discuss this assessment which emphasises the importance of student collaboration in its development and the impact of this approach on student engagement and learning. Data analysis is typically taught by providing students with data sets and asking them to undertake relevant analyses of the data. We wanted the students to produce the data, that is, we wanted the students to have early buy-in to the assessment by being collaborators in its development. Chow refers to this as student-involved assessment, arguing that this empowers the students as self-regulated learners (Chow, 2010). Our approach was to ask the students to develop and justify their own questions, collect their own data and then to peer review each other’s ideas for analysis during the development of their final reports. This process has several educational benefits including active learning and multiple opportunities for formative feedback. When evaluating this innovation the key issues were whether the co-production of the questionnaire, ownership of the data and the opportunities for peer review and self-reflection had impacted on student learning. This paper reports on the impact using both student performance and qualitative feedback.

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