Criterion referenced assessment as a form of feedback: Student and staff perceptions in the initial stages of a new law degree

Abstract

Criterion referenced assessment (CRA) has become the preferred method of grading in higher education institutions in recent years. There has been a substantial amount of academic literature over recent years that has attempted to advocate, explain or outline best practice for CRA.

This paper explores academic and student participants' perceptions of CRA and related marking practices based on a study focused on assessment practices in a new Australian regional law school. Existing research proposes two broad rationales for the use of CRA: to increase the reliability and validity of assessment practices; and to provide greater transparency within grading of assessment items for students.

The aim of the research discussed here was to discover whether the stated rationales for CRA in the literature aligned with the perceptions of and uses by academic staff and students.

Preliminary findings are based on a small, qualitative sample of staff and students. They suggest that, whilst academic participants' valuing of CRA does echo some of the researched rationales, they more strongly value this practice because of the time efficiencies that the use of CRA and marking rubrics can achieve for the provision of feedback. This finding is important because it stands in possible conflict with perceptions of students in our study, who appeared to perceive criteria sheets or marking rubrics as being distinct from individualised feedback. Implications of our findings are discussed.

Authors

Toni Chardon
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Pauline Collins
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Sara Hammer
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

Caroline Hart
Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD

References

Askew, S., & Lodge, C. (2000). Gifts, pingpong and loops - Linking feedback and learning. In S. Askew (Ed.), Feedback for learning (pp. 1-18). London, England: Routledge Falmer.

Boud, D. (2007). Reframing assessment as if learning were important. In D. Boud & N. Falchikov (Eds.), Rethinking assessment in higher education: Learning for the longer term (pp. 14-26). Abingdon Park, England: Routledge.

Brookhart, S. M. (2008). How to give effective feedback to your students. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Cousins, G. (2009). Researching learning in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Cuffe, N., & Jackson, S. (2006, July). Engaging students in the implementation of criterion referenced assessment in first year law. Paper presented at the First Year in Higher Education Conference, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

Ferguson, P. (2011). Student perceptions of quality feedback in teacher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(1), 51-62.

Fluckiger, J., Tixier y Vigil, Y., Pasco, R., & Danielson, K. (2010). Formative feedback: Involving students as partners in assessment to enhance learning. College Teaching, 58(4), 136-140.

Hammer, S. (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), 50-58.

Higgins, R., Hartley, P., & Skelton, A. (2002). The conscientious consumer: Reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), 53-64.

Hughes, C., & Cappa, C. (2007). Developing generic criteria and standards for assessment in law: Processes and (by)products. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 32(4), 417-432.

James, R., Krause, K., & Jennings, C. (2010). The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from 1994 to 2009. Retrieved from http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/research/FYE_Report_1994_to_2009.pdf

Kristensen, B. (2010). Has external Quality Assurance actually improved quality in higher education over the course of 20 years of the 'quality revolution'? Quality in Higher Education, 16(2), 153-157.

Leonard, D., & McAdam, R. (2001). Grounded theory methodology and practitioner reflexivity in TQM research. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 18(2), 180-194.

McNamara, J., Field, R. M., & Cuffe, N. A. (2008, July). Designing reflective assessment for effective learning of legal research skills in first year. Paper presented at the First Year in Higher Education Conference, Hobart, TAS, Australia.

McTaggart, R. (2009). The standards fare. Campus Review, 19(15), 21-23.

Nicol, D. (2007, May). Principles of good assessment and feedback. Keynote paper presented at the REAP International Online Conference on Assessment Design for Learner Responsibility, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Retrieved May 30, 2011 from http://www.reap.ac.uk/public/Papers/Principles_of_good_assessment_and_feedback.pdf

O'Donovan, B., Price, M., & Rust, C. (2001). The student experience of criterion-referenced assessment through the use of a common criteria assessment grid. Innovations in Learning and Teaching International, 38(1), 74-85.

Price, M., & Rust, C. (1999). The experience of introducing a common criteria assessment grid across an academic department. Quality in Higher Education, 5(2), 133-144.

Rust, C., Price, M., & O'Donovan, B. (2003). Improving students' learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(2), 147-164.

Sadler, D. R. (1987). Specifying and promulgating achievement standards. Oxford Review of Education, 13(2), 191-208.

Sadler, D. R. (2005). Interpretations of criteria-based assessment and grading in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(2), 175-194.

Scott, G. (2005). Accessing the student voice: Using CEQuery to identify what retains students, and promotes engagement in productive learning in Australian higher education. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.dest.gov.au/sectors/higher_education/publications_resources/profiles/access_student_voice.htm

Seale, C. (2005). Using computers to analyse qualitative data. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook (2nd ed., pp. 188-208). London, England: Sage.

Taras, M. (2003). To feedback or not to feedback in student self-assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), 549-565.

Keywords

criterion referenced assessment; law education; staff perceptions; student perceptions

Meta

PP: 232 - 242


Sign Me Up for latest release updates

*  Email Address:
    First Name:
    Last Name:
*  I am interested in:





 

Web Feed

Latest Articles

Call for Papers

Pedagogy and language planning
Volume 9/2
Deadline: 9th May 2014


Special Issues

Explorations of pedagogy in Australian contexts
Volume 8/3
Summary | Contents


Quality pedagogies for quality learning in contemporary higher education
Volume 8/2
Summary | Contents


Creativity and collaboration in the education sector
Volume 8/1
Contents


Cross-cultural pedagogies: The interface between Islamic and Western pedagogies and epistemologies
Volume 7/3
Summary | Contents


Diverse dimensions of computer-assisted language learning
Volume 7/2
Contents


Online Pedagogy in Practice
Volume 5/3
Contents


Working with Computer-Assisted Language Learning
Volume 5/2
Summary | Contents


Language Testing
Volume 5/1
Summary | Contents


Pedagogical Meanings Emerging in Practice (Part 2)
Volume 4/5
Summary | Contents


Contextualizing CALL Locally and Globally
Volume 4/4
Summary | Contents


Pedagogical Meanings Emerging in Practice (Part 1)
Volume 4/3
Contents


Doctoral Designers: Challenges and Opportunities in Planning and Conducting Educational Research
Volume 4/2
Summary | Contents


Evaluating Value(s): Issues in and Implications of Educational Research Significance and Researcher Identity
Volume 4/1
Summary | Contents


Meanings Emerging in Practice (Part 3)
Volume 3/3
Summary | Contents


Meanings Emerging in Practice (Part 2)
Volume 3/2
Summary | Contents


Meanings Emerging in Practice (Part 1)
Volume 3/1
Contents


Educating for Tomorrow: Considering Theories for Learning Futures
Volume 2/3
Summary | Contents


'Town and Gown' in the Bush: Contemporary Regional Universities and Transforming Communities
Volume 2/2
Summary | Contents


Meanings Under the Microscope (Part 4)
Volume 2/1
Summary | Contents


Meanings Under the Microscope (Part 3)
Volume 1/3
Contents


Meanings Under the Microscope (Part 2)
Volume 1/2
Contents


Meanings Under the Microscope (Part 1)
Volume 1/1
Summary | Contents


crossref.org - The citation linking backbone



Website by Arrowsmith Websites. Website Design Sunshine Coast, Australia.