Foundation Skills/Developing an assessment/Communicating expectations to students

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Communicating expectations to students

In Unit 3 of this course, you were introduced to Chickering and Gamson's seven principles of good undergraduate teaching one of which was that good teachers communicate high expectations. Just as you communicate high expectations around course participation, so should you also communicate high expectations in your assessments.

in addition to providing students with written requirements for an assessment task, try to do the following:

  • Post an electronic copy of the assessment task online (e.g. in Moodle) together with requirements and expectations
  • Have a face-to-face assessment briefing in class to explain the assessment task and answer any questions that students may have
  • Have a face-to-face assessment de-briefing in class about a week after the briefing session to clarify requirements and address queries
  • Show examples of good, average and poor student work from the past (get permission from students!)
  • Get students to judge pieces of work and to justify their decisions
  • Provide opportunity for students to develop competence and confidence through practise examples
  • Explain what you expect in response to particular action verbs
  • Use suitable action verbs in your questions in class or online to develop student thinking
  • Set aside time in class for discussions around assessment
  • Provide marking schedules and rubrics where possible and exlpain to students how these work
  • Educate students to avoid plagiarism
  • Design assessment tasks to minimise plagiarism
  • Provide useful and timely feedback on student performance andc encourage and advise students on how to do better

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Web Resources

Plagiarism is a niggly problem that seems to be on the increase. When designing your assessment tasks, you can reduce the chances of plagiarism by:
  • Ensuring that students know what plagiarism is and why they should avoid it
  • Setting different assessment questions from year to year
  • Placing less emphasis on questions that require recall of information
  • Using essay topics that are less likely to come up in a search on the Internet via search engines
  • Using Turnitin to screen student essays for possible plagiarism

A word on Plagiarism: A great resource to educate students about the 'evils' of plagiarism is the Referencite academic referencing resource. It includes information about plagiarism, drop-down lists to teach your students how to do referencing, as well as video clips showing staff and students of different nationalities talking about plagiarism from their cultural perspectives.