Assessment for the development of professional competence
Lorenzi, Francesca and Rami, Justin (2009) Assessment for the development of professional competence. In: ESAI 2009 - 34th Annual Conference, 2-4 April 2009, Kilkenny, Ireland.
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Traditional forms of assessment such, as essays and end of term examinations, are still widely used in higher education in Ireland as the sole assessment methods. These forms of assessment, while the may be valid and reliable methods for collecting evidence of acquisition of theoretical knowledge, they rarely afford students the opportunity to apply knowledge to key professional scenarios.
The authors draw on their experience as Lecturers and course designers for the module “Curriculum Assessment” which is offered to both, traditional full-time undergraduates and part-time professional educators. This paper describes the introduction of an assessment portfolio designed with the aim to promote the development of professional competence among teacher students and foster professional development among more experienced teachers and trainers in relation to assessment theory and practice.
The introduction of a new assessment format needs to be carefully planned and evaluated. The suitability of the assessment format should be evaluated in terms of the student population, the learning objectives and the learning context. However it proposed that innovation should also be firmly grounded in the enhancement of the learning experience and the sustainability of such learning even beyond the academic context (Boud, 2000).
While it is acknowledged that lecturers and students engaging in portfolio assessment are treading unfamiliar territory that may lead to resistance, non-completion and student and lecturer overload (Tisani, 2008), the learning outcomes achieved through this form of assessment appear to out-weight some of the common problems associated with this form of assessment. The structure of the portfolio for this particular module has allowed students to become assessment designers, markers, and self and course evaluators. After an initial unease with unfamiliar territory, the reproduction of authentic professional scenarios and the emphasis on critical application of theory has led to a shift in self-perception from student to teacher role among teacher students. More experienced teachers and trainers have also benefited from greater relevance of assessment to their professional needs and from the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to their specific context to develop their professional practice.
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