About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4586-4590
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1144

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

MEANINGFUL STAFF STUDENT COLLABORATION IMPLEMENTING TESTA; A MODEL OF OPEN HANDED LEADERSHIP

D. Bowskill, S. Westwater-Wood

University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
Transforming the experience of students through assessment (TESTA) is an established evidence-led approach to understanding assessment patterns on degree programmes. The purpose of TESTA is to help programme teams identify enhancements for student learning based on evidence and assessment principles. A 2015/16 moderation process audit in the School of Health Sciences (SHS) identified a need for staff to understand assessment practices across the school. Simultaneously the annual UK National Student Survey (NSS) reported inconsistency in student experience of assessment. NSS outcomes are highly important to Schools. They inform university rankings and student choice in a competitive higher education market. The audit identified TESTA as a validated and reliable method with potential to facilitate the School in understanding strengths and limitations of its programme assessment.

The SHS Directors of Assessment and Quality Assurance led recruitment and commissioning of fifteen staff and nine students from Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy to undertake one TESTA case study audit for each BSc program. Following TESTA training (2016 Tansy Jessop), Directors tasked groups to determine aspects such as insider/outsider perspectives, how, when and with whom they would implement TESTA methodology. Directors delegated operational leadership to groups with the directive that TESTA protocol be adhered to and termed this ‘open handed leadership’.

Staff and students worked in partnership to gather evidence of the typical assessment experience of students for the; Programme audit (evidence from existing programme documents and the teaching team), Assessment Experience Questionnaire (based on established assessment principles) and student focus groups. Directors were regularly updated by teams in a model of communication established at the initial project meeting.The open handed approach aimed not to empower but to share power with students and staff. A culture of collaboration developed a sense of ownership and empowerment within groups. Staff embraced this collaborative process and students felt they were being heard not just listened to.

Students were highly visible, contributing alongside staff in the early phase but engagement fell over time. On reflection levels of engagement ran alongside student availability. Perhaps unsurprising therefore that students do not prioritise project work but foreground academic and clinical study. Sergiovanni speaks of relational trust suggesting that each party in a relationship holds expectations about the role of others. It is possible that trusting relationships created within TESTA teams developed as reciprocal obligations, students to engage and staff to continue when students are absent.

The real success of leadership was to be open handed at the beginning. Giving power and living with decisions the team made even when they were not what we would have chosen. We trusted the skills, passion and professionalism of team members. Some might call this naïve Jessop later described it as ‘brave’. If student prioritisation of involvement in collaborative projects is fraught with barriers our experiential posits would be to; enable student involvement at the earliest opportunity when their voice has the greatest impact. Be understanding when academic demands pull students away.
@InProceedings{BOWSKILL2018MEA,
author = {Bowskill, D. and Westwater-Wood, S.},
title = {MEANINGFUL STAFF STUDENT COLLABORATION IMPLEMENTING TESTA; A MODEL OF OPEN HANDED LEADERSHIP},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.1144},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.1144},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {4586-4590}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Bowskill AU - S. Westwater-Wood
TI - MEANINGFUL STAFF STUDENT COLLABORATION IMPLEMENTING TESTA; A MODEL OF OPEN HANDED LEADERSHIP
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1144
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 4586
EP - 4590
ER -
D. Bowskill, S. Westwater-Wood (2018) MEANINGFUL STAFF STUDENT COLLABORATION IMPLEMENTING TESTA; A MODEL OF OPEN HANDED LEADERSHIP, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 4586-4590.
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