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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 920: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): VI International Symposium on Horticultural Education, Research Training and Consultancy

STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE VALUE OF FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN THEIR ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT

Authors:   A.M.B. Perera , J.E. Morgan
Keywords:   formative feedback, transition, first year experience, assessment design
Abstract:
Formative assessment plays a crucial role in the support and development of studentsí learning and understanding. However, pressures within Higher Education (HE) are such that formative approaches are often under used or ignored completely. This work focuses on the use of formative assessment in a Level 4 (Year 1) science module of the B.Sc. (Honours) and Foundation Degree programmes in Horticulture, and its contribution to achievement in a diverse profile of students with non-tradi-tional science backgrounds. The central tenet is the studentsí perception of formative assessment in terms of its role and value in their overall learning experience. The approaches trialled here, align the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the plant sciences with the needs of a changing entry profile in the transition to tertiary education. Student appraisal of approaches found that formative assessment was seen to be of particular value when it was explicitly coupled to, and underpinned, summa¨tively assessed work. A staged index of achievement was the preferred model, helping learners identify and reflect on what they need to do to improve, feeding forward towards summative exercises. The findings that resonate with a cross-modular approach, will inform discipline-specific and institutional reviews of learning and teaching that embrace curriculum design and the underpinning pedagogy.
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