Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Symposium on Tertiary Assessment and Higher Education, Victoria University, Wellington - 17 Nov 2008

The conference was held at Rutherford House, Victoria University and started on a very wet and windy day in Wellington. I met with Helen, Bettina, Ed, and Colin and we 'walked' across the venue being buffeted all the way. Having arrived we chatted with a few people, and I recognised a couple of people from EIT which was good. After registering we were then delighted to find out that there is Internet access - hurrah, and even better the login works with the wireless network as well.

Because I was busy socialising on Sunday night with colleagues, I did not have time to swot up on our presentation for Monday, but looking through it this morning I feel fine - I think it will go well. It's going to be a wee bit tight on the time, given the number of slides, but I do feel as though we have something valuable to add. Once we arrived at the venue, I went to find where Helen and I are presenting and figured out where I will be able to plug my laptop in, and how to get things sorted out, so I feel a little more confident about the presentation.

After the welcome Kerry Shephard (just over from the UK - Uni of Southampton where he was ed tech learning and teaching manager) presented. He brought to the fore some of the central aspects of assessment, raising questions and starting points for discussions for the rest of the symposium. It was also suggested that research led teaching was the goal that should be aimed for and, in fact what is currently the form in NZ and Australia. It was suggested that the two mesh together, and we do not have to be equally in expert in each, but can certainly research what we are doing and publish the results. Another aspect that was under discussion in several of the session was the focus on performance rather than just giving grades.

It has been a valuable conference with a range of important areas covered in particular the increasing use of peer-review and peer-assessment/feedback, self-reflection, and the importance of using well-written rubrics. Also key themes was the use of online assessment, and the incorporation of cultural factors into assessment.

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