Assessment Review and Self-Assessment

From the Unit Guide: "Look at the assessment methods for Facilitating Lifelong Learning. Do you think they adequately reflect the specific objectives of the course? Could they be improved? If so, how? (As a matter of fact, it would be most appreciated if you sent your suggestions to the Unit Co-ordinator at the end of the semester!)"

The comments take into account the distinction between course objectives and learning outcomes (section 4A of the course), the "Unit Aims in the Learning Guide, the "Learning Outcomes" in the same, and the Assessment methods utilised in the course, along with the insights from various readings, especially Topic 4B (Assessment).

Assessment weights were as follows:

• 20 Participation (partially derived from self-assessment; includes LMS leadership and STP)
• 30 Final exam (open book, selection of two questions from an initial grouping of six)
• 50 Major project (potentially split into two components)

The Participation component of the course is that most strongly aligned with the course readings on assessment practises, providing both the potential to satisfy unit aims (LMS leadership can be seen as a type of scaffolding to introduce adult educators and the STP contributes the opportunity for a significantly deeper critical reflection on one week's reading material), and for continuous assessment and feedback which is preferential for formative assessment. However, the summative component of this course is deferred when it probably could be introduced during the course itself. As this is not included a potential strength of continuous assessment is missing.

An requisite examination component was introduced for all Murdoch University courses in 1986 follow a proposal from the Vice-Chancellor, despite significant opposition at the time. The ESTR committee accepted the suggestion, albeit with some notable flexibility of interpretation, which still seems to be the case. This course certainly does utilise this flexibility through an open-book examination with questions provided beforehand. However the hand-written exercise still does not represent a particularly realistic method of evaluation. Also, because the exam is known to consist of two questions from a selection of three, from an initial range of six, mathematically an avoidance orientation can be taken by only researching five of the questions. This does not encourage a full overview of course material.

The Major Project is the most significant of the course, and arguably too significant, given that the focus is inevitably quite narrow based on the potential project questions. Again the course satisfies a scaffolding-like approach to learning by outsourcing much of the initial evaluation to fellow learners, which certainly represents a skill that they must acquire. However, again as summative assessment is not provided by the time of examination it is somewhat difficult for a learner to ascertain how they are faring.

Overall then the following is recommended:

• 40 Participation (partially derived from self-assessment; includes LMS leadership and STP, and with each week's contribution evaluated as continuous assessment)
• 30 Major project (a narrower study on a specific topic with initial evaluation by fellow learners and summative assessment provided prior to examinations)
• 30 Final exam (24-hour open-book research paper, covering the entire course material - no need for sitting with invigilators!)

My self-assessment participation mark is 18/20.

The justification for this mark, although on the higher end of the scale, is based on a combination of effort, attribution, content, and a recognition that I am enrolled in one of the 4-point versions (EDU2401) of this course.

All requisite components of the participation components of the course were carried out, typically above and beyond the requirements stated.

The Short Thematic Paper was provided, and with due recognition of the requirements as stated in the Learning Guide, as "reflection about your thoughts and reactions to the readings", plural emphasised.

LMS moderation was carried out, which questions from across the readings and with relevant contexts to contemporary learning technology.

Peer-review of project essays were carried out with careful consideration of the other student's writing content and formatting style. Criticism was tempered towards providing the student a way of improving their contribution in a positive manner.

Contributions to the forum were significantly above the requirements of the unit, with detailed responses drawing from the readings, often from other research in relevant examples of education theory. These contributions were almost always timely (there was one topic where they were outside the normal two-week expectantion window).

In addition to this, a detailed learning journal was kept, all course readings were undertaken multiple times (compulsory and optional) and material derived from the course has now been introduced into the adult education courses that I present.