Strategies for assessment and feedback involving international students [in Law]


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Slides for the presentation given by Jude Carroll at the event Assessment and feedback issues for teaching international students in Law on 16 May 2011.

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Strategies for assessment and feedback involving international students [in Law]

  1. 1. Strategies for assessment and feedback involving international students [in Law] 16 May 2011
  2. 2. Teaching International Students project <ul><li>Funded through </li></ul><ul><li>TIS Team 2009 -2011) : </li></ul><ul><li>Janette Ryan, Jude Carroll, Fiona Hyland (ESCalate), Inna Pomerina (Economics), Melodee Beals (History, Classics & Archeology) , Simon Steiner (Engineering) , Malcolm Todd (C-SAP), Ali Dickens (LLAS), Andrea Frank (CEBE), Caprice Lantz (Psychology), Richard Atfield (BMAF), Adam Child & Katherine Lagar, HEA </li></ul>
  3. 3. TIS events and resources <ul><li>Today! </li></ul><ul><li>The Student Lifecycle </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background for assessment discussions <ul><li>Most international students go home with a qualification. </li></ul><ul><li>Most teachers have strategies for assessing diverse (culture + language) groups </li></ul><ul><li>Most standards seem safe </li></ul><ul><li>Most teachers give feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Most students say they would recommend others to come and do their programme </li></ul><ul><li>But….. </li></ul><ul><li>True for your students? </li></ul><ul><li>Your assessment strategies for cultural diversity? For language diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Are your standards for home and ISs the same? </li></ul><ul><li>Any issues around feedback? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Same outcomes for assessment with <ul><li>Less stress [teachers and students]? </li></ul><ul><li>Less workload strain? </li></ul><ul><li>Less struggle? [It will never be easy!] </li></ul><ul><li>Less panic (real or imagined) about standards? </li></ul><ul><li>More time and effort on learning? </li></ul><ul><li>More rapid ‘catching on’ of what is expected? </li></ul><ul><li>More efficient ways to align teacher/student expectations and actions? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Standing in international students’ shoes…. [especially in the beginning] <ul><li>Assessment is in the top 3 for anxiety (UCoSA, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Unexpected / surprising (‘.. did not expect difference’ Pointon, 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Unavoidable </li></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliar (a bit… very … totally) </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear (Grades, Standards, criteria ….) &quot;Despite having earned almost exclusively very high marks, handing-in always feels like a trip to the casino to me”. </li></ul><ul><li>Urgent & Important </li></ul><ul><li>Time-consuming </li></ul><ul><li>[Over time], assessment can be (often) welcome </li></ul>
  7. 7. A Postgrad student writes, [ at the end of her UK studies ]: <ul><li>During my studies in Romania I had to memorise things, which …. was tested and nobody cared if the following day you remembered nothing. However, during my Masters degree [in the UK] I had to write 4,000 word assignments and read many articles from dissimilar positions. I also had the chance to write about topics that I was interested in, which made the tasks more personal and enjoyable. </li></ul><ul><li>What differences can you spot? Go beyond the obvious </li></ul>
  8. 8. Assessment: cultural differences, different academic practices <ul><li>TASK: Read the handout. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a list: What assessment issues would the students face when they travelled to UK Law programmes? </li></ul>
  9. 9. What ‘works’ and what ‘does not work’ for effective assessment practices? <ul><li>Denial ‘I teach. It’s up to them to learn.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ I didn’t admit this student who can’t speak English’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ They came here for a British education….’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Repair’ ‘You fix them and then I’ll teach them’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ These students can’t….. They don’t ….. They are not motivated….’ </li></ul><ul><li>Students must adapt ‘These students need to learn new ways, to learn our ways. I’ll help them do that…. a bit’ </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers accommodate and adjust their practice </li></ul><ul><li>‘ OK, XXX is not reasonable so let’s require that the students do YYY. But this [ZZZ], this we cannot and will not change…..’’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. A shared responsibility….. <ul><li>Students adjust and adapt ‘New game, new rules’ </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers adjust, include and accommodate </li></ul><ul><li>‘ New players, new game’ </li></ul><ul><li>Focus for the rest of this session: </li></ul><ul><li>What helps and hinders both sides concerning assessment? </li></ul><ul><li>What contextual factors [institutional / disciplinary] need attention? </li></ul>
  11. 11. What teachers can do that helps students with UK assessment….. <ul><li>Teaching relevant skills </li></ul><ul><li>Provide practice , practice, practice, practice - especially if it is low-risk </li></ul><ul><li>Exemplars </li></ul><ul><li>Specific, criteria-linked feedback . </li></ul>
  12. 12. Making assessment effective: a shared responsibility <ul><li>Institutional-level: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>admission, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>additional support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Programme-level planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills teaching [academic writing, argument, critical reading etc] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Progression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raising students’ own awareness (‘ assessment literacy ’) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ skills </li></ul>
  13. 13. Teacher skills linked to assessment of ISs? <ul><li>Being explicit </li></ul><ul><li>Formative feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Reading student texts for meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Creating inclusive tasks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Teachers’ concerns about assessment and feedback [for international students] <ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><li>Standards   </li></ul><ul><li>What to mark </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness   </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ contextual knowledge / setting a task </li></ul>
  15. 15. What are the questions we need to be asking ourselves and our colleagues about effective assessment and feedback? <ul><li>Activity: In groups, we will address 4 areas which link to effective assessment of international students </li></ul><ul><li>Task: using the prompts and the handout, create questions that need to be answered. </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrate on making good questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Write the three best on a flip. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Focus on standards [Reliability] <ul><li>[What students should be doing + how well they should be doing it] </li></ul><ul><li>Agreeing on : </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Grades </li></ul><ul><li>Thresholds between pass and fail </li></ul><ul><li>Achievements for level (start, middle, graduate….) </li></ul><ul><li>… ‘ good enough’ English language standards </li></ul><ul><li>Plagiarism and use of sources </li></ul>
  17. 17. Focus on Validity <ul><li>[ What teachers should judge; aligning judgments with learning outcomes.] </li></ul><ul><li>Agreeing on : </li></ul><ul><li>relative importance of language, structure, ideas/content in determining a grade </li></ul><ul><li>downplaying/ overlooking less important criteria when marking </li></ul><ul><li>sustainable marking: managing frustration, ‘bug-bears’, stamina, etc </li></ul>
  18. 18. Focus on method [‘How’ ‘what’] <ul><li>[What teachers ask students to do to show they have met learning outcomes.] </li></ul><ul><li>Creating tasks which: </li></ul><ul><li>give everyone an equitable chance to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>permit alternatives [formats] where appropriate to strengthen validity (for example, less language demanding methods where content is central; more time where some read slower; etc) </li></ul><ul><li>assess students’ learning in the course , not what they bring with them </li></ul><ul><li>keep teachers’ workload realistic </li></ul><ul><li>match students’ workload to the value of the grade. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Focus on Feedback <ul><li>[To tell students if they are on track. In future, getting on track and/or improving.] </li></ul><ul><li>Clear (the student understands what it means) </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful (The student can act upon it for future benefit) </li></ul><ul><li>Specific (The student can see how it could be done) </li></ul><ul><li>Timely </li></ul><ul><li>Focused (The important messages) </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient (Teacher workload is sustainable) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Finding answers
  21. 21. Bringing it back to you