Measuring up: Comparing first year students' and tutors' expectations of assessment

Surgenor, P. W. G. (2013) Measuring up: Comparing first year students' and tutors' expectations of assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 38 (3). pp. 288-302. ISSN 02602938 (ISSN)

[img] Text
Surgenor 2013 Measuring up.pdf

Download (281kB)
Official URL:


The Freshman Myth has been used to demonstrate that students frequently enter tertiary education with unrealistically high expectations of various aspects of university life. This research explored the Freshman Myth in relation to assessment and predicted it would be reversed for academic issues, with students' having lower and more negative expectations of assessment than those of their tutors, as communicated via module descriptors, the initial source of information for incoming students. Data were gathered from students during their first class of the module before assessment had been discussed, and through the information and expectations communicated via the module descriptor. Results suggested that student expectations were clearer and more positive than those expressed by their lecturers in many aspects of assessment, including timing and frequency, and range of methods. Module descriptors provided little indication of the standards expected of students or insight into areas in which students were less clear, such as the role of assessment in learning. Information currently available through module descriptors does little to progress student perception of assessment beyond that experienced at secondary level or to prepare students for the academic rigour of their first module in higher education. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: Surgenor, P. W. G.; Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; email:; References: Baker, R.W., McNeil, O.V., Siryk, B., Expectations and reality in freshman adjustment to college (1985) Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32 (1), pp. 94-103; Baker, R.W., Schultz, K.L., Experiential counterparts of test-indicated disillusionment during freshman adjustment to college (1992) NACADA Journal, 12 (2), pp. 13-22; Baker, R.W., Schultz, K.L., Measuring expectations about college adjustment (1992) NACADA Journal, 12 (2), pp. 23-32; Ballinger, G.J., Bridging the gap between A level and degree: Some observations on managing the transitional stage in the study of English Literature (2003) Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 2 (1), pp. 99-109; Ben-David, M.F., The role of assessment in expanding professional horizons (2000) Medical Teacher, 22, pp. 472-477; Braxton, J.M., Vesper, N., Hossler, D., Expectations for college and student persistence (1995) Research in Higher Education, 36 (5), pp. 595-611; Brinkworth, R., McCann, B., Matthews, C., Nordström, K., First year expectations and experiences: Student and teacher perspectives (2009) Higher Education, 58, pp. 157-173; Broekkamp, H., Van Hout-Wolter, B.H.A.M., Students' adaptation of study strategies when preparing for classroom tests (2007) Educational Psychology, 19, pp. 401-428; Collier, P.J., Morgan, D.L., Is that paper really due today?' Differences in first-generation and traditional college students' understandings of faculty expectations (2008) Higher Education, 55 (4), pp. 425-446; Gerdes, H., Mallinckrodt, B., Emotional, social, and academic adjustment of college students: A longitudinal study of retention (1994) Journal of Counseling & Development, 72, pp. 281-288; Gibbs, G., Simpson, C., Measuring the response of students to assessment: The assessment experience questionnaire (2004) Improving student learning: Theory, research and scholarship, pp. 171-185. , In: Rust C., editors Oxford, Oxford,: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development; Gibbs, G., Simpson, C., Conditions under which assessment supports student's learning (2005) Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1 (1), pp. 3-31; Gigliotti, R.J., Are they getting what they expect? (1987) Teaching Sociology, 15, pp. 365-375; Hagan, D., Macdonald, I., A collaborative project to improve teaching and learning in first year programming (2000) Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 9 (1), pp. 65-76; Hair, J.F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L., Black, W.C., (1998) Multivariate data analysis, , 5th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ, Upper Saddle River, NJ,: Prentice-Hall; Harrington, K., Elander, J., Norton, L., Robinson, H., Reddy, P., Do essay assessment criteria refer to transferable skills, deep approaches to learning, or complex learning? (2003) Investigations in University Teaching and Learning, 1 (2), pp. 57-61; Isaksson, S., Assess as you go: The effect of continuous assessment on student learning during a short course in archaeology (2008) Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33 (1), pp. 1-7; Jessen, A., Elander, J., Development and evaluation of an intervention to improve further education students' understanding of Higher Education assessment criteria: Three studies (2009) Journal of Further and Higher Education Studies, 33 (4), pp. 359-380; Keup, J.R., Great expectations and the ultimate reality check: Voices of students during the transition from high school to college (2007) NASPA Journal, 44 (1), pp. 3-31; Kirst, M.W., Venezia, A., Antonio, A.L., What have we learned, and where do we go next? (2004) From high school to college: Improving opportunities for success in postsecondary education, pp. 285-319. , In: Kirst M.W., Venezia A., editors San Francisco, San Francisco,: Jossey-Bass; Koermer, C.D., Petelee, J.L., Expectancy violation and student rating of instruction (1991) Communication Quarterly, 39, pp. 341-350; Krause, K.-L., Hartley, R., James, R., McInnis, C., (2005) The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from a decade of national studies, , Melbourne, Melbourne,: Department of Education, Science and Training; Matthews, B., Ross, L., (2010) Research methods: A practical guide for the social sciences, , Harrow, Harrow,: Pearson; Nordell, S.E., Learning how to learn: A model for teaching students learning strategies (2009) Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, 35 (1), pp. 35-42; Norton, L., Using assessment to promote quality learning in higher education (2007) Learning, teaching and assessing in higher education: Developing reflective practice, pp. 92-101. , In: Campbell A., Norton L., editors Exeter, Exeter,: Learning Matters; Norton, L.S., Dickins, T.E., McLaughlin Cook, N., Coursework assessment: What tutors are really looking for? (1996) Improving student learning: Using research to improve student learning, pp. 155-166. , In: Gibbs G., editors Oxford, Oxford,: Oxford Centre for Staff Development; Pain, R., Mowl, G., Improving geography essay writing using innovative assessment (1996) Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 20 (1), pp. 19-31; Pardoe, S., A question of attribution: The indeterminacy of learning from experience. New contexts (2000) Student writing in higher education, pp. 125-146. , In: Lea M.R., Stierer B., editors Buckingham, Buckingham,: Open University Press; Ramsden, P., (2003) Learning to teach in higher education, , London, London,: Routledge Falmer; Reason, R.D., Terenzini, P.T., Domingo, R.J., First things first: Developing academic competence in the first year of college (2006) Research in Higher Education, 47, pp. 149-175; Robinson, J.P., Shaver, P.R., Wrightsman, L.S., (1991) Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes, , San Diego, CA, San Diego, CA,: Academic Press; Ruban, L., Reis, S.M., Patterns of self-regulatory strategy use among low-achieving and high-achieving university students (2006) Roeper Review, 28, pp. 148-156; Schwartz, P., Webb, G., (2002) Assessment case studies: Experience and practice from higher education, , London, London,: Kogan Page; Smith, W., Zhang, P., Students' perceptions and experiences with key factors during the transition from high school to college (2009) College Student Journal, 43 (2), pp. 643-657; Stern, G.G., Myth and reality in the American colleges (1966) AAUP Bulletin, 52, pp. 408-414; Stern, G.G., (1970) People in context: Measuring person-environment congruence in education and industry, , New York, NY, New York, NY,: Wiley; Stevens, J., (1996) Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences, , Mahwah, NJ, Mahwah, NJ,: Lawerence-Erlbaum; Stevenson, K., MacKeogh, K., Sander, P., Working with student expectations of tutor support in distance education: Testing an expectations-led quality assurance model (2006) Open Learning, 21 (2), pp. 139-152; Stiggins, R.J., (2005) Student-involved assessment for learning, , Upper Saddle River, NJ, Upper Saddle River, NJ,: Pearson/Prentice-Hall; Thomas, L., Student retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus (2003) Journal of Education Policy, 17, pp. 423-442; Yorke, M., Longden, B., (2008) The first-year experience of higher education in the UK: Final report of a project funded by the Higher Education Academy, , York, York,: Higher Education Academy
Uncontrolled Keywords: assessment; expectations; first year; Freshman Myth; module descriptor
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2015 19:49
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2015 19:51

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year