How well do students understand the distinction between grade boundaries and what can they realistically expect in terms of ‘steering’ to ‘hop’ between boundaries?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

It is common to hear students say “I worked really hard and spent a lot of time on this assignment, but I still only got a really low mark for it.” The disappointment of this experience leads many to question the purpose of “all this assessment”.  Often their concern to achieve ‘high grades’ has been shaped by the students’ experience of secondary education, and especially by a widespread belief that high grades are required ‘to get a job’. However, recent evidence suggests this is not universally true (1) and potential employers look for key skills (2), such as problem-solving, numeracy and higher level communication skills. Assessment in HE aims to benchmark a student’s development of these and diverse other complex attributes (3, 4). But if students fail to understand this – believing instead that effort and time are the key criteria - it becomes difficult for them to demonstrate the expected attributes. The starting point for this research, therefore, is that students frequently want (or expect) to achieve a high grade (5) without being able to pinpoint what merits this (anecdotal). The research, which is work-in-progress, involves data based on surveys conducted with students at levels 6 (BSc final year) and 7 (MSc). (The surveys were carried out by level 7 professional degree students.) The data indicate that while many students were able to demonstrate they were familiar with and could recall a comprehensive knowledge ‘base’,  they did not always have the ability to engage with higher-level thinking and scenario problem-solving (3, 6, 7). The session will provide opportunities to discuss the implications of this innovative work for assessment practices and student expectations in HE (4). 
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2016
Event Pedagogic Research Conference, 2016 : Transition into and trajectories through HE - Falmer, Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Feb 20165 Feb 2016

Conference

Conference Pedagogic Research Conference, 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBrighton and Hove
Period5/02/165/02/16

Keywords

  • Grades
  • Pass mark
  • Examinations

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