Master Class Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

‘Getting real’: The role of assessment in authentic learning  (#189)

Gayle Morris 1
  1. AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

In the context of future work, our students’ ability to thrive is better served through assessment more like the kinds of activities they will have to perform at work, rather then being highly proficient test takers or navigators of the artificial constraints often imposed in controlled assessments. Yet in undergraduate teaching where we are often dealing with large numbers of students, and complex teaching teams, good assessment practice can be compromised and unwittingly the artificial, hypothetical and controlled become our default position. In this highly interactive master class, participants will have an opportunity to review existing models and examples of authentic assessment, reflect on some of the challenges in integrating a more authentic program of assessment, and to consider the application of such models in the context of their own practice. Participants will emerge with a set of resources that they can apply to their own classrooms. This master class is intended to accommodate teachers from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and experience but that have share an interest in undergraduate teaching.  The master class will be structured to maximise exchange. It will do so through a combination of short diagnostic activities, of stimuli in the form of video and visuals, and of process orientated activities designed to generate examples of assessment that promote authentic learning. A set of comprehensive notes will ensure participants have access to some of the latest thinking in this area and links to a number of resources and references to inform their own practice. At the end of the master class participants will be able to: 1) create impactful assessment that supports authentic learning  and 2) apply examples or models for use within their own context.

Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

This master class contributes directing to the theme ‘Assessing, evidencing and evaluating graduate capabilities’, particularily in response to two of the sub-themes, ‘How do we ensure that our students’ learning experiences contribute to the development of their graduate capabilities? What strategies, approaches and policies can support this?, and ‘What is the relationship between the capabilities graduate develop through their learning experiences and those that are transferred beyond the educational context and into the world of work?’  The master class straddles both these themes and engages with the critical challenge of how to leverage assessment as a powerful inducement of authentic learning so fundamental to the development of the kinds of knowledge, capacities and disposition for future work, within the constraints of mass education. There continues to be the need for teachers in which to expand our repertoire and hear from others who are working successfully to move assessment into authentic learning.