Description of Good Assessment Practice

Title: Dr
Name: Loretta Kim
Academic Position: Assistant Professor (Lecturer in UK or NZ)
Name of Institution: University of Hong Kong (Former Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University)
Country: Hong Kong
Discipline: Arts
Department/School: Department of History
Course title: Gender Issues in Imperial Chinese History
Course code: GCHC1017 (Baptist Un
Class size:
Course Year: Others
Assessment Title: Assessment in a History Course Featuring a Virtual Museum
Assessment Type: Formative
Time allowed for assessment:
Target: Assessment of group work
Learning outcomes of the assessment practice: Learning Outcome 1: To understand why we need to talk about gender in history.

Learning Outcome 2: To know how to use gender as a lens to study history.

Learning Outcome 3: What are the perception of gender which are particular to China and the pre-modern period.

Learning Outcome 4: Introduce them to China history in general, to be able to see China history more diversely

Key features and principles of the assessment practice: Principles
Firstly, assessment is to be very fit for purpose. Assessment should not be conducted as something extraneous, something that students have to do for the sake of doing. The aim is to use an optimal amount of assessment to capture the essence of students’ performance. Secondly, the assessment tasks are designed in a way that the outcomes will be useful for students in other classes or towards their future careers.

Key features
1.) Group-based project (30%)

For the group-based project, students will form groups of 3 to 4 students and will be given a category (e.g. family, clothing) to develop a sub-topic within that category. They will also have to choose a time period, as it is not possible to discuss centuries of Chinese history in one presentation. They are responsible for seeking out the sources of relevant information, including primary source documents from that period and secondary research that has been done about the topic they choose. Their eventual goal is to give a presentation to teach their peers about the selected topic, not in a uni-directional lecture style format, but in an interactive manner. They may speak for about 10 to 15 minutes to give their classmates an introduction and an overview. They have to lead their peers to do an activity, which aims to help them experience history. It can be something like a role-play or debate, but sometimes students become more creative and they come up with other ways for their peers to understand how things are now and relate things back to history.

There are two components in the assessment of group work. First of all, each group will have a group performance grade, which is evident in the way students delegate their work during the presentation. For example, one of the assignment requirements is that if there are four students and it is a 20 minutes presentation, each of them needs to speak for an equal amount of time. There is also an individual performance grade, so that students will know that they will be rewarded for doing a good job on their own. If there are 100 points in total, 60 points will be for the group performance and 40 points will be for the individual performance.

2.) A virtual museum (Relic Curation Project) (40%)

The virtual museum is a piece of individual work. Students have to choose their own topic (relic). The topic can be a person, a place or an object. As there are usually over a hundred students in a class, the choice of topic is decided on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, if a topic has already been chosen by a student, the next student who chose it will have to select another topic. Whatever topic it is, they will have to write a e-profile of the topic with images, not only describing it on the surface level, but will also have to explain about its significance for understanding gender in Chinese history. This assignment encourages students to interpret the topic chosen and to make an argument that the person, place or object that they have chosen can symbolize something about Chinese history.

Assessment of the virtual museum is based on a rubric presented at the beginning of the semester, so students will know how to fulfil the basic requirements and students who are more diligent will ask more specialized questions about different components. So, the differences between a B and a C or an A and a B are highly discernible. Simply just because students who took more initiative were more able to achieve more with the same project.

3.) In-class participation (30%)

Students must be present and active in all class meetings. They are rewarded for contributing comments, questions, and integrating their views into discussions in which all members of the class are invited to participate. Assigning 30% of their overall assessment to in-class participation counters the general tendency of students to be selectively engaged, usually only when they are giving a presentation or otherwise “on the spot.” Shy students learn through continuous in-class participation how to become more assertive about expressing themselves, and are also rewarded for active listening, a behavior that shows respect to their peers. Outgoing students learn how to moderate their contributions so that they are not monopolizing a discussion or discouraging peers from participating. All students learn how to treat the classroom as an open forum where all participants have equal say and shared responsibility to engage in academic interactions.
What are the best things about this assessment method? Just as students taking the Common Core course in HKU come from different backgrounds, the interests of students in the HKBU General Education programme are really diverse. Many of them are obviously not that interested in history when they first come to the class. Thus, it was made clear to the students that the aim of the course is not to teach them history as a discipline or as a major. Rather, the course and the assessment tasks aim to make them imagine what life was like in the past in China.

The assessment tasks are inclusive and support diversity in the classroom, providing students with opportunities to display their strengths. For example, some music and performing arts students would bring in different types of media into their group presentation for the group-based project. The group presentations keep the whole class busy and help to engage students in class as students are curious about what other groups have prepared; and some groups even have a ‘take-home’ component, with something that their classmates can do in class and bring it home.

As the virtual museum is online, all of the students would have access to it, and they can see each other’s work and refer to it. Each student owns his or her own page, so he or she can use it as an additional portfolio, for employment or for their studies.
What are the challenges in implementing this assessment method? Group work can become a burden for some groups when there are free riders. It was observed by the lecturer, who described it as a possible ‘generational shift’, that there is a significant increase in the number of free riders in her class as compared to five years ago. It seems that nowadays, more students feel that their individual interests are more important than their group interest.

Omeka software was used to host the virtual museum. However, the time license was only limited to one year, so students had to download their work and save it for future use.
What do your students think about this assessment method? (Any evaluation?) Most students are positive towards the visual museum assignment because they like to have visual materials to work with. However, the virtual museum bothers some students because they do not want to do a very good job, yet they know that they will be embarrassed and ashamed as their classmates can also view them online. Although all the students signed the consent form for their work to be published online, some of them are unhappy as they think that it is not their best work or that they did a sloppy job, and everyone can see. So some students do not really like the accountability.

For students who want to try something different, they think that it is fun and they can be more creative, and have more agency in displaying what they have learned. On the other hand, for students who do not want to try anything new, they still prefer to have the term paper and examination.
Plans for changes/developments in future (if any): Figuring out what works best for students is an ongoing process. Although there are no concrete plans for changes in future, the lecturer hopes to develop a clearer picture of students’ whole life over time, for example, on how much time students are actually able to spend on school work and how does school work rank in their life priorities, in order to find out what type of assessment method works best to support student learning. As it is important to develop assessment tasks which will be useful for students in the future, the lecturer is also looking into the potential of Google sites in helping students keep more of their work online.

Although there are plans to remove group work for assessment due to problems with free riders, students will continue to do work and discuss in groups during class.
Attachment: Relic Curation Project Evaluation Rubric
Creation date: 2015-10-15 15:09:58