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Do Assessment for Learning practices act as a Springboard or Straitjacket for Educationally Worthwhile Learning? A Case Study in an Irish Higher Education Institue

Bowe-Deegan, Patricia (2015) Do Assessment for Learning practices act as a Springboard or Straitjacket for Educationally Worthwhile Learning? A Case Study in an Irish Higher Education Institue. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This study examines lecturers’ and students’ views about assessment for learning practices, within a Business School in Ireland, and investigates if these practices contribute to educationally worthwhile learning. The literature details the practices of assessment for learning, and how enactment of these promote educationally worthwhile learning, a term alluded to in the literature, yet not defined. This mixed-methods study collected quantitative data by distributing a survey instrument to all third year undergraduate students in the Business School. The qualitative data was gathered from classroom observations of two cohorts of those third year students, some of whom volunteered to participate in a focus group. Lecturers’ were interviewed following observation of their classroom practices. The findings revealed that students do not distinguish between AfL and non-AfL environments, yet classroom observations and focus group data depicted a different reality. While students perceive grade attainment as success, the thesis argues that this does not equate to educationally worthwhile learning. Lecturers regard the practices associated with AfL as good practice and not attributable to any particular environment. They perceive success in educational terms as getting the student ‘work-ready’ which they equate with educationally worthwhile learning. In conclusion, the practices of questioning, feedback, sharing criteria and peer- and self-assessment are not exclusive to AfL. It is the enactment of these practices, in any classroom environment within particular institutional learning cultures that determine if they act as a springboard or straitjacket to educationally worthwhile learning.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.682304
Depositing User: Patricia Bowe-Deegan
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 10:40
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12448

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