Reshaping assessment practices in built environment undergraduate programmes: What heads of department report

Scott, L. and Fortune, C. (2010) Reshaping assessment practices in built environment undergraduate programmes: What heads of department report. [Conference Proceedings]


In Higher Education (HE) assessment practices and processes have been the subject of wide ranging transformation over the last 15 years. Debate about the current state of assessment often refers to unease as to its suitability for the 21 st century and the need for it to be fit for purpose. Reference has been made to practices in disarray, where assessment has become a site of conflict for many involved in undergraduate education. It is argued that an in-built lack of clarity in the methods of assessment used to convey judgement on performance is an underlying factor. Assessment in the discipline of the Built Environment (BE) is required to fulfil a multiplicity of purposes and play many different and often conflicting roles. The provision and embedding of opportunities for assessment to aid learners through more formative ways has been highlighted as failing students currently. In the context of BE undergraduate programmes this paper discusses the need for such a research project in the context of the changing HE educational environment. A mixed methodology approach to the research and sign posting to improvements in the quality of student learning in BE undergraduate programmes that may take place through the assessment process are proposed. This paper reports on the study so far, where seminal literature is explored in order to identify, inform and shape the assessment practice of academics. The results of phase one of the research are presented with an in-depth analysis of the findings of the second phase of this research. Analysis of the emerging views and preferences of Heads of Department is offered which will help inform the next stages of this work in progress. This ongoing research anticipates developing a model for the formative assessment of BE undergraduates where the enhancement of student learning will underpin the evaluative process.

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