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University students’ perceptions of summative assessment: the role of context

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posted on 10.06.2016, 14:44 authored by Paola IannonePaola Iannone, Adrian Simpson
We report on a mixed-method study that compared students’ perceptions of summative assessment across two distinct disciplines – education and mathematics, at two research-intensive institutions in the UK. The disciplines chosen represent opposing positions in Biglan’s classification of academic disciplines, as well as having very different assessment practices. Results suggest that these education students prefer to be assessed by methods they perceive to discriminate on the basis of academic abilities. Moreover, they perceive the traditional closed-book examination as inadequate to assess the capabilities which are key to being successful in their subject, which fits some but not all of the general findings in the literature. However, comparing these results with those of an identical study with mathematics students, we find that the perceptions of summative assessment are very different. We account for that difference by suggesting that students’ epistemic beliefs play a role in shaping these perceptions and conclude that, in designing summative assessment in higher education, generalised and centralised forces for change need to be tempered by contextual and disciplinary factors.

Funding

We would like to thank the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia for funding the research reported in this paper through the EDU Pump Priming Research Fund, 2014.

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

Journal of Further and Higher Education

Citation

IANNONE, P. and SIMPSON, A., 2016. University students’ perceptions of summative assessment: the role of context. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 41 (6), pp. 785-801.

Publisher

© 2016 UCU. Published by Taylor and Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

01/10/2015

Publication date

2016

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 17 May 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0309877X.2016.1177172.

ISSN

1469-9486

Language

en

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