Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) in Science & Health Practical Settings

Partner Institutions

Project Lead: Dundalk Institute of Technology

Project Partners: Institute of Technology Sligo, Institute of Technology Carlow, Athlone Institute of Technology

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Primary Contact(s)


edel-2016_0Dr Edel Healy

Dundalk Institute of Technology

Tel: +353 429 370 262

Email: Edel.Healy@dkit.ie

Detailed Proposal

In Science & Health programmes, acquiring practical skills in addition to theory, is crucial to to ensuring student learning and employability. The IOT sector in particular places a major value on producing graduates who are ‘workplace ready’ with an emphasis on developing practical skills (which accounts for up to 50% of summative assessment). It is widely recognised that assessment is an important influence on student learning, effecting engagement and motivation, effort and performance. There is considerable scope for improvement in practical assessment practices at undergraduate level where concerns such as over assessment, authenticity and graduate skills are widely acknowledged. This proposal aims to develop a framework for applying the principles of good assessment and feedback to practical assessment and facilitate dialogue among stakeholders about what it is we want student to learn in practical classes and how our assessment can facilitate this.

Led by the Heads of School in each institution a peer support network shall be established . Based on a stakeholder analysis (learners and industry) and a review of the relevant literature, the partners shall pilot and evaluate a selection of the assessment methods across the network with a focus on the use of digital technologies. A website to showcase resources across the partner institutions shall be created itemising practical assessment methods and case studies. Sustainability of the initiative shall be ensured by maintaining the discipline specific peer support group to foster ongoing best practice and disseminate practices. An end of project workshop shall be organised by the team to showcase the learning from the project and expand the peer support network to other Institutions. It is hoped that the the outcomes of the project shall improve learner retention in the science and health disciplines through enhanced learner performance and awareness of the relevance of practical activities to theoretical concepts

1. A baseline report capturing current practical assessment practices in Science and Health disciplines within the partner institutions and a literature review of best practice in the field.
2. A needs analysis survey of the opinions regarding practical assessment approach amongst learners and employers in order to obtain the input from these key stakeholders
3. Improved strategic practices in practical assessment with a view to exploit digital technologies and so further develop expertise among academics in Science and Health disciplines
4. Increased sectorial knowledge and competencies on assessment in practical settings to foster ongoing best practices both within the project partners and to national and international fora
5. A strong peer support network of academics in the partner institutions committed to best practices in assessment of practical assessments in Science and Health disciplines
6. Enhanced students’ learning experiences with greater potential of meeting the needs of future employers
7. A website, allowing collaboration and sharing of information between the partner institutions on practical assessment methods, case studies, pilot study design
8. A website of resources showcasing best practices in practical assessment using case studies and pilot study outcomes to define key learning’s from the project with design inputs from students, staff and employers
9. End of Project Workshop to disseminate pedagogical methods developed from the project for use by other academics in the IoTs and other third level institutions in Ireland and abroad
10. At least two peer reviewed publications from the project to advance the state of knowledge in methods and techniques for students’ assessment in practical settings for Science and Health discipline.
Stage 1 – Evaluation of Existing Baseline
1.Establish a network of Heads of Schools, academics, IT specialists, library staff and Teaching & Learning specialists across the partner institutions. This network will facilitate the progress of the project during its lifetime. It is envisaged that this network will endure beyond the project lifetime and act to provide peer support on an ongoing basis.
2. Review the range of practical assessment practices in use and assess the extent to which digital technologies are being used.
3. Develop a strategy to engage learners as partners in this process.
4. Conduct a stakeholder analysis of the needs of relevant industry in relation to practical skills.
5. Identify national and international best practice in practical assessment in the Science and Health Disciplines through a literature review.
6. Analyse the existing approaches to practical assessment identified in Step (2) in relation to the principles of effective assessment and map across the group to international best practice.
Stage 2 – Improving practice.
7. On the basis of the Stage 1 outcomes, identify a number of digital technologies and approaches to practical
assessment to be piloted across partner institutions.
8. Evaluate the impact of each pilot based on the agreed performance indicators, with particular emphasis on the learning and the learner experience.
Stage 3 – Digital Dissemination of Outcomes
9. An online portal of practical assessment resources will be developed to share resources across the partner institutions and wider academic community
10. Disseminate outputs through master-classes, an end of project workshop and in peer reviewed publications.
11. Maintain and develop community of practice through ongoing peer contact and support, online webinars and continual implementation of assessment refinement techniques.