CHANGING THE ASSESSMENT TO PROMOTE DEEPER LEARNING
Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
The Dublin Institute of Technology is one of the largest multi-level higher education providers in Ireland. The Institute’s traditional mission has always been focused on teaching and learning in the field of advanced technical vocational education and training (TVET), and one of its agendas is to foster and encourage changes in teaching practice and methodology in order to enhance the student learning experience.
This paper is a result of the ever changing process which shows the evolution of the assessment process to its current format. It was driven by the fact that we as lecturers realised that the assessments promoted surface learning. Earlier assessments did not allow for a demonstration of knowledge but instead relied purely on memory recall. As topics were so vast and assessment questions so specific, this lead to learners having to memorise everything.
The questions we asked ourselves were: By giving learners exam papers and asking them to recall facts and information, are we really just testing their memory? How do we know what they have learned and more importantly do they understand what they have learned?
A change was needed to promote deeper learning and to give learners a better understanding of each topic. The learners had to be given the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge that they had learned. As external providers of a prescribed curriculum, its content was beyond our remit so instead we had to focus on the assessment process.
Research was carried out, focusing on groups of Apprentices in Cabinet-Making, in the final stages of their apprenticeship. The study was conducted over a number of years and primarily focused on the theory assessments. By acting upon my research findings, I was able to change the layout of the theory paper to promote deeper learning.