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)


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.

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