In 2018, QQI published a Green
Paper on Assessment of Learners and Learning to stimulate a debate about
current practice in assessment, how policy and practice in this area can be improved,
and QQI’s role in these changes.
More than 70 responses were received from across the further
education and training, higher education and English language education sectors,
the main themes of which are contained in a stakeholder feedback report written
by Dr Joanne Banks of Trinity College Dublin.
Feedback emerged across a wide range of themes at a number
of different levels.
At a system-level, feedback highlights a strong appetite for
discussion about the role of assessment in education and a need to view
education within the context of providing foundational knowledge, professional
skills and lifelong learning. Submissions
emphasised the need for QQI to provide clear and unambiguous guidelines for
providers in order to ensure consistency of standards of assessment across
different education settings. In some responses,
this call for greater guidance was somewhat conflicted by arguments for
institutional autonomy and local decision-making.
Contributions at this level focussed on topics such as inclusion
and diversity in education in light of the increasingly diverse nature of
students and the need for assessment to reflect these changes. Highlighted was the need to broaden the current
understanding of diversity in the student population from international and
mature students to include those who are socio-economically disadvantaged and those
with disabilities and addition learning needs.
Providers expressed the need for debate and clear guidelines on how true
inclusion can be achieved within the context of providing reasonable
accommodations for students and Universal Design for Learning principles.
Stakeholders also provided detailed contributions on the role
of learners as partners in assessment with mixed views on the feasibility
of this overall.
It was widely felt that clear guidelines on academic integrity
and standards of achievement in assessment be made available for both staff and
Practice on the ground
Contributions in relation to the use of digital
technology in assessment revealed a lack of investment in this area and variable
methods of assessment across different providers. Challenges exist in ensuring the validity and
authentication of remote assessment.
Other challenges identified included an over-emphasis on
assessing individual modules rather than the achievement of the programme
learning outcomes. Providers also provided suggestions on how to avoid
over-assessment to the benefit of both staff and students. Finally, a focus on work-based learning
called for a re-examination of how these assessments are viewed within our broader
understanding of education, clear guidelines for assessors and strengthened relations
between providers and industry.
This is only a sample of the feedback received. The report can be read in full here.
Individual contributions from stakeholders can be read here.