Monday, November 09, 2015

Chalk and Cheese

Contrast In a week when all was doom and gloom over #HEgreenpaper, something good happened. Paul Orsmond and Stephen Merry published a paper.

One day last week I was ranting at one of my project students about contrasts - as a piece of statistical jargon and as a vehicle to construct hypotheses. So let's have some contrasts. Orsmond and Merry have let the cat out of the bag - it's not all about teachers, it's about the students too. I misread one sentence of their paper and temporarily thought they were calling for "non-constructive alignment" - then I was disappointed that they hadn't. Anyhow, the contrast between the reductive approach of #HEgreenpaper and the constructive approach in this paper could not be greater. You've read one, now read the other:

Tutors’ assessment practices and students’ situated learning in higher education: chalk and cheese. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28 Oct 2015. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1103366
This article uses situated learning theory to consider current tutor assessment and feedback practices in relation to learning practices employed by students outside the overt curriculum. The case is made that an emphasis on constructive alignment and explicitly articulating assessment requirements within curricula may be misplaced. Outside of the overt curriculum students appear to be interdependent learners, participating in communities of practice and learning networks, where sense-making occurs through negotiation and there is identity development. Such negotiation may translate curriculum requirements articulated by tutors into unexpected meanings. Hence, tutors’ efforts might be better placed on developing students’ ability to self-assess and to effectively evaluate and negotiate information, rather than primarily on their own delivery of the curriculum content and feedback. Tutors cannot be fully effective if they fail to consider students’ learning outside the overt curriculum, and ways to facilitate such learning processes are suggested together with future research directions.

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