Design a major assessment task – ‘not another essay’
Scaffold students’ learning
Excerpt of the clinical scenario
You are a newly registered nurse working at Matilda Memorial country hospital.
A 3 year old child with no known pre-existing medical conditions is admitted to the hospital with fever of unknown origin for investigation.
Nurses at the hospital manage uncomplicated fever differently.
The hospital’s Director of Nursing has asked you to:
identify the best available evidence on the nursing management of uncomplicated fever in children
propose a draft policy based on the information you find.
Evaluation of first iteration
Three sources of data:
University-wide voluntary student evaluation of the unit (quantitative and qualitative data)
anecdotal information from students and tutors
the means of students grades/marks for the worksheet and the major task
Evaluation (cont) Feature of the unit % satisfied/very satisfied (N=194) Assessment: Level of difficulty 62% Assessment - Relevance to Topic 72% Relevance of the tutorial sessions 72% Written Assessment Mean Worksheet 15 marks 10.9 Major Essay “ Submission for a practice change” 50 marks 34
1. Problems with the first data source (QUT student evaluation of unit)
not from a randomised sample of students from the unit
we have no input into the generic construction of the survey.
survey administered by the university three weeks before students have submitted the major task or sat for their exam
small number of comments (44) - qualitative data is not representative.
2. University policy prevents us from:
matching characteristics of particular students to the feedback they give us
obtaining details about the cohort, e.g. percentages who were mature-aged; the tertiary entrance scores of students who started the degree directly from high school, and the ratios of ESL students
What did the data indicate?
most students found the subject relevant and could achieve reasonable results in the assessment tasks
only 62% found the difficulty level satisfactory, despite the fact that the subject was at an introductory level
diverse and opposing opinions about the unit’s relevance, difficulty, challenge of major task, placement of the unit in the degree
many students ‘ described ’ rather than analysed and synthesised research information
failure rate not high – comparable to other units
Main problem: insufficient alignment
construct validity not as high as intended
authentic task but
construct validity compromised by insufficient authentic learning of EBP skills before applying them in the worksheet and major task
change the pedagogy in tutorials to provide more
practice of analysis and synthesis skills
reinforcement and feedback ( Caldwell, 2007 )
remove the requirement for students to produce a ‘policy document’ as part of the major task –is too challenging
transformed some students views about assessment
underestimated the amount of practice third year students needed to develop analysis and synthesis skills
believe that EBP should be incorporated into all units and not be offered as a standalone unit