Description of Good Assessment Practice

Title: Dr.
Name: Paula Hodgson
Academic Position: Professorial staff
Name of Institution: The University of Hong Kong
Discipline: Education
Course title: Language and Learning
Course code:
Class size: 21-40
Course Year: 2008~09; 2009~10
Assessment Title: Group Participative Critical Analysis
Assessment Type: Summative and Formative
Time allowed for assessment: Outside class hour
Learning outcomes of the assessment practice: Preparing for reading is often overlooked by students. This case study describes the assessment used in the education discipline to encourage students in preparing for reading tasks.

Students are initially formed into groups and are given a weekly article to analyse. The article may be in the format of a book chapter or a research article relating to language learning. These tasks are linked with formative and summative assessment components. The students in each group will choose a lead discussant among the group, who would divide up the article and assign the reading to each group member. At each lesson, group members are allocated time to contribute their readings to the group and discuss critically on the article and related issues. The lead discussant would then make an overall summary afterwards and facilitate discussion on related issues. Moreover, group members will peer-assess each other and provide formative feedback to the lead discussant on how effectively he/she presented the summary and how skillfully he/she led the discussion. They will also suggest an area for improvement immediately after the discussion. The discussion is digitally recorded, so that the lead discussants can reflect on the discussion, peer feedback and issues arise before the analytical summary of the article is submitted.

Students are given responsibilities to lead and facilitate discussion that allows them to develop some forms of leadership skills in a course. As peer group members, they are also assigned responsibility in contributing to the group task so that members can actively participate in the discussion process. Members also exercise evaluative skills and provide immediate feedback to the lead discussant. Overall, the groups can benefit from the collective efforts, while members can actively engage in the learning tasks. Second, although the summary of the article will be done only by the lead discussant as an individual assignment for summative assessment, all members indeed have a deeper understanding of the educational topics and related issues.

On some occasions, although students are assigned reading task for the week, some group members may be absent. This can cause some discontinuity when reporting the summary of reading section. Second, students may have difficulties in understanding research articles, thus collective reading and critical analysis may not result in in-depth understanding. Third, peer feedback can be superficial and not critical.

Further work:
Articles are needed to be chosen with greater care, allowing more time for peer feedback during the coming semester.
Key features and principles of the assessment practice:
What are the best things about this assessment method?
What are the challenges in implementing this assessment method?
What do your students think about this assessment method? (Any evaluation?)
Plans for changes/developments in future (if any):
Creation date: 2010-08-10 09:45:36