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To Let Learn: Enhancing Authentic Assessment for Student Learning Within the Disciplines through the Teaching for Understanding Framework

May 2, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Click here to view the Seminar Report

The Teaching for Understanding Framework (TfU) developed from research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on what ‘to understand’ means. Perkins distinguishes between ‘knowledge’ defined as ‘information on tap’, ‘skills’ as ‘routine performance on tap’ and ‘understanding’ as ‘flexible performance capability’, the ability to go beyond information, to create new knowledge, to use knowledge and skills in diverse situations. Such learning occurs “principally through reflective engagement in approachable but challenging understanding performances” (1998, p. 39).

TfU’s emphasis on student-centred performances aligns seamlessly with the National Forum’s theme of challenging and supporting the move from assessment of to assessment for and as learning. We will host a half day seminar showcasing case studies on using TfU as a pedagogical tool to rigorously and coherently enhance assessment design (especially for and as learning) in HE.

We have rich and diverse experience as TfU is a central model of curriculum design explored in the certified courses on T & L in HE in UCC , to disseminate locally, nationally and internationally on discipline-based pedagogical classroom experiments using TfU.

This seminar has the potential to engage with the wider HE community’s debates around ‘transitions’ ‘student-centred learning’ and authentic assessment within the disciplines – that is, designing assessment performances that explicitly integrate knowing, doing and being empowering students to form and establish themselves in the world. We intend these case studies to form a thematic background to explore challenges and opportunities for the enhancement assessment as learning in HE

Learning Outcomes

  1. To document and reflect on how TfU has been applied throughout the disciplines to enhance student-centred assessment for and as learning
  2. To document and reflect on designing assessment that explicitly integrate knowing, doing and being requiring students to interrogate what they know and are able to do in a manner that enables them to seek possibilities for their ways of being in the world
  3. To contribute to the conversation on how the curriculum and the learning environment can be designed to enhance assessment (with particular reference to the transformation of assessment from being ‘of learning’ to ‘for’ and ‘as’ learning)

Target Audience

All interested staff in Higher Education


A half-day seminar (approx. 4 hours) with two distinctive, albeit integrated, parts.

Part 1: Cases Studies on Enhancing Assessment through TFU

Part 2: To Let Learn: A Dialogue on TfU as a Framework to Challenge and Support Authentic Assessment in the Disciplines in 21st Century Higher Education

In Part 1 a series of case studies by contributors from diverse Departments, Schools and Centres in UCC will be presented to illustrate the design and practice of TfU as a pedagogical tool to enhance assessment for and as learning. Each fifteen minute case study focuses on the design and enactment of each contributor’s TfU designed assessment intervention or the nature and practice of ongoing assessment. This will enable the audience to reflect on how to use TfU to foster enriched assessment and therefore student learning experiences in the classroom. These case studies will then provide the backdrop for a thirty minute dialogue with the contributors and the audience in Part 2 on designing authentic assessment performances through TfU to enhance teaching and learning in Higher Education.


University College Cork
Cork, Ireland
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