Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships Working for social justice in higher education www.open.ac.uk/accessobservatory Inclusive Assessment in Practice The Challenge of Assessing Reflection: The Open University Access Programme John Butcher, Stefanie Sinclair, Anactoria Clarke Context Critical evaluation of assessment of reflection in Arts and languages Access module (Y031) Y031 is one of three new L0 Access modules. Includes a range of assessed/non-assessed reflective tasks. 30 credits, 30 weeks, designed for WP students new to HE with limited prior qualifications, offering additional preparation to build confidence to succeed in L1 UG qualifications. Issues How does the assessment of reflective tasks affect students’ perception of and engagement with reflective tasks? How do tutors view the transition to a more formal assessment of reflective tasks? Literature 30 years since key texts theorising reflection (Boud, Kolb, Schon). Recently, persistent advocates but strong critiques around contested areas of learner engagement, deep reflection and assessment of reflection. Reflection in HE: Cowan 2013, Dyment & O’Connell 2011, Moon 2001, 2006, Race 2010. Inclusive assessment in HE: Butcher et al 2010, Gravestock 2006, Hockings 2010, McDowell 2008. Formative feedback in HE: Evans 2013, Nicol 2007, 2009, & McFarlane-Dick 2006, Shute 2008. How? Online survey to Y031 13J students Telephone interviews with sample of Y031 tutors Analysis of tutor feedback and PT3 assessment summary on sample of marked TMAs Findings: what worked? Some students spent time on, and thought carefully about reflective tasks if assessed, perceiving them as important skills in dealing with future studies. Some tutors felt assessing reflection made students take it more seriously, enhancing active, independent study skills and progression as distance learners. If tutors targeted feedback on reflection as a positive aspect of learning (not a ‘problem to be solved’), trusting dialogic learning resulted. Younger students more confident in reflecting. Students found most helpful activities where they could reflect on how they used their tutor’s feedback. Findings: what needs improving? Reflection challenges Access students - some perceive reflection as waste of time (describing rather than analysing), prioritising content, so tutors need to support reflection pro-actively. Students with negative prior educational experience need to trust their tutor to reflect honestly: quality/quantity of feedback is crucial. Tutors need to be more confident about assessing reflection (assigning a % grade) Reflection on findings Access learners can be vulnerable, lack study resilience and be at risk of early withdrawal. Tutor feedback is crucial to student success Prior educational experience of Access students may not have been positive, they may not value the skills and experiences they bring to their first taste of HE. Tutor trust/support are critical to student persistence Tutors may be committed to the benefit of reflection, but lack confidence in grading/feeding back on reflection. Assessment is an issue. Tutors need to be competent in assessing reflection Recommendations Be explicit why students are asked to reflect: include a definition, amplify purpose, scaffold ‘prompts’, prioritise monitoring. Reflective activities need to be embedded into an iterative learning process, and an integrated curriculum and assessment design, combining assessed and non-assessed reflective tasks To prompt greater dialogue with the tutor, assess reflective tasks: interaction is cumulative. Tutors need further staff development to build confidence and skills in the assessment of reflection (exemplars of % grading & feedback). Inclusive assessment How can the assessment of reflective tasks support Widening Participation? In what way can the assessment of reflective tasks be regarded as inclusive assessment? Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships Working for social justice in higher education www.open.ac.uk/accessobservatory Dr John Butcher Deputy Director, CICP [email protected] Dr Stefanie Sinclair Chair of Y031, Lecturer in Religious Studies [email protected] Dr Anactoria Clarke Regional Manager Y031 [email protected] Any questions?