“Leveling the Assessment Playing Field”
April 23, 2021 2.00 PM - 2.30 PM On Demand Save the Date
There have been several significant shifts in theological higher education in Australia over the past decade, not least among these is the shift in the student body. Overall, student numbers have decreased, and simultaneously, there has been an increase in older, part-time, and distance students. At Nazarene Theological College (NTC), we have also noticed a decrease in student ability. Incoming students appear to be less equipped in the areas of critical thinking, basic writing skills, and even time management. This deficiency in student capability has coincided with TEQSA requirements for increased student support. Most Theological institutions have ramped up their student support systems providing regular academic tutorials, targeted academic skills modules, and external helps like Studiosity and Grammarly. Nevertheless, these ‘add-on’ supports are not ideal for the current student body, who are already overstretched doing part-time studies in addition to their full-time jobs and family responsibilities.
Over the past year, NTC has sought to address these realities through a re-evaluation of our student assessments task/s (AT), which are then reinforced through teaching/learning activities (TLA) in various units.
While knowledge, skill, and application are all important elements of any taught unit, we believe the importance of each differs based on unit level (introductory, intermediate, advanced), which corresponds with student level.
In the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD), learning outcomes (LO) are based upon the acquisition of knowledge, skill, and application, which are evaluated through AT. While knowledge, skill, and application are all important elements of any taught unit, we believe the importance of each differs based on unit level (introductory, intermediate, advanced), which corresponds with student level. As such, we have designed a chart and guidelines to help faculty members align AT to LO based on unit level. Additionally, our introductory levels include a focus on building a foundational skill (e.g., critical thinking, essay writing), which is supported through TLA.
In this paper, we will introduce our chart and guidelines, explain the process we went through to develop our new format, articulate the rationale behind it, and look at initial implementation and findings.