How do university teachers make decisions about assessment?
From our students' perspective "assessment always defines the actual curriculum" (Ramsden), but what defines assessment? We suspect that the disjoint between assessment best-practice and assessment in-practice might be the result of pragmatic decisions made by everyday academics, and we are investigating this in the OLT-funded project Improving assessment: understanding educational decision-making in practice (Dawson, Bearman, Molloy, Boud, Joughin & Bennett, OLT ID12-2254).
This presentation will focus on preliminary findings from our analysis of semi-structured interviews with 30 chalkface university teachers. Improving assessment is more than a problem of knowledge translation/transmission; we have identified a diverse set of influences on assessment design including time pressures, committee structures, technology and assessment beliefs.