Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)
Higher education is becoming a major driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy. Maintaining the competitive edge has seen an increase in public accountability of higher education institutions through the mechanism of ranking universities based on the quality of their teaching and learning outcomes. As a result, assessment processes are under scrutiny, creating tensions between standardisation and measurability and the development of creative and reflective learners who, in turn, are capable of meeting the demands of the ‘new professionalism’ (Goodson, 2000) which foregrounds reflexivity through ‘continuous learning’ and ‘self-directed search’ (Goodson, 2000, p.187).
These tensions are further highlighted in the context of large undergraduate subjects, learner diversity and time-poor academics and students. Research suggests that high level and complex learning is best developed when assessment, combined with effective feedback practices, involves students as partners in these processes.
Our presentation summarises a four phase, cross institution and cross discipline project designed to embed peer review processes as part of the assessment in two large, under-graduate accounting classes. Using a social constructivist view of learning, which emphasises the role of both teacher and learner in the development of complex cognitive understandings, we undertook an iterative process of peer review. Successive phases built upon students’ feedback and achievements and input from language/learning/curriculum experts to significantly improve the teaching and learning outcomes.
Our research highlights that more nuanced training in assessment processes is required for students to have the capacity to fully engage in self and peer assessment in higher education. Reflective frameworks offer a powerful, action-oriented approach to assessment training which fosters responsive and adaptable professionals. Six semesters of survey data consistently confirm improved assessment outcomes for students with pre and post peer review evaluations highlighting an overall grade improvement across the cohort.
Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is committed to developing graduates who can contribute effectively as citizens, become leaders in the wider community, and to be competent professionals within their chosen discipline.
An effective pedagogy for students in contemporary higher education to facilitate their transition to, and to then sustain their roles in the wider community as responsive and adaptable professionals, is engagement through partnership. At its roots, ‘partnership is about investing students with the power to co-create, not just knowledge or learning, but the higher education institution itself (National Union of Students 2012, p. 8)’.
Within this context and adopting a social constructivist view of learning, which emphasises the role of both teacher and learner in the development of complex cognitive understandings, our research consisted of a four phase, cross institution and cross discipline project. This project was designed to embed reflective peer review and response frameworks as part of the assessment in under-graduates accounting classes within the QUT Business School. Successive phases built upon students’ feedback and achievements and input from language/learning/curriculum experts to significantly improve the teaching and learning outcomes.