Every higher education student is on a journey. This journey is not always linear, but the ultimate destination is to receive a higher education award. On the way, there are signposts; those milestones that can show progress. A major milestone in the student journey is to successfully complete assessment. How do staff measure the student experience in a course to ensure an equitable and equivalent learning experience across the University? Where do the many stakeholders and course design elements come into this kind of “journey check-in”? A way to measure this is through Peer Review of Assessment.
As part of the ongoing professional development in educational decision making from Academic Programs, the University has offered an inaugural workshop in Peer Review of Assessment. The participants in this two-session workshop included academic staff across seven Colleges who had recently taught units. This workshop is the initiative of the Dean of Academic Programs and the Chair of Academic Board. The workshop was led and facilitated by Dr Carolyn Alsen, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education.
The objective is to train and equip University Staff in peer reviews of their teaching and student learning. Staff used samples of student work, constructive alignment and assessment design concepts and reviewed each other’s units. This helps to maintain consistency of student outcomes, assessment activities, marking practices and alignment.
The workshop covers:
- Principles of constructive alignment between Course Outcomes and Unit Learning Outcomes.
- Assessment design.
- The principles of constructive marking/grading rubrics to guide more consistent and objective assessment practices.
- Creating a marking rubric.
- The principles of peer review of assessments using case studies
- Practice of a review of assessments with various grades/marks
The workshops, along with more opportunities for training, will continue to be offered by Academic Programs. The purpose is to encourage ecumenical relationships, engage with and celebrate the expertise of academic staff, pilot a methodology for peer review in the community, and encourage the scholarship of learning and teaching. If you are currently teaching at the University of Divinity and would like to express interest about attending future workshops, please contact Dr Alsen at email@example.com for the next intake.
What participants said:
“The workshop was very rewarding for me. Sitting with senior colleagues to chat over assessment tasks in light of constructive alignment was very enlightening. The sessions recall and emphasise what I learnt earlier and encourage implementation. I am glad I attended both days. Looking forward to other such sessions in the future.” – Rev Dr Francis Otobo, Yarra Theological Union
“I picked up some good tips on better aligning assessments with unit and course objectives, and I was able to immediately apply these to review a unit I just taught, and a new unit I am developing. I think students appreciate a well-structured and tightly integrated unit as it helps them focus their learning and I would be interested to see if there is correlation between student satisfaction and coherent course design. I especially enjoyed the interaction with colleagues from other colleges and learning from their experience. I am glad I participated in these workshops.” – Dr Katherin Papadopoulos, St Athanasius College
Dr Carolyn Alsen is Learning and Teaching Manager in the Academic Programs department at the University of Divinity. Carolyn has experience in Higher Education management, academic quality and strategic planning, lecturing in biblical studies and linguistics, curriculum design, quality compliance and research in Australian and international Universities. In her role, Carolyn drives improvements to academic quality and student experience at the University.