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Abstract

Assessment is a time consuming and important part of academic life for tutors and students alike. It shapes the teaching and allows the tutor to guide the learning process. However, student learning is more effective when they understand the assessment process. Tutors, as expert assessor, are in the best place to develop such knowledge but, they need to plan for this in advance and consider the students’ perspective. The purpose of this paper is to both inform and influence tutors’ assessment practice using recent literature. Information searches were employed to gather literature from peer reviewed journal articles using keywords that are important within the assessment context: assessment, formative assessment, criteria, feedback, and self-assessment. The literature was collated under each of three question areas that take into account the students’ perspective: 1. If I had some criteria and examples I would know ‘What do I need to do?’, and ‘What should it look like?’ 2. If I had some feedback while doing my work I would know if ‘I am doing what is required?’ and ‘How I can improve?’ 3. If I had support to self-assess ‘Would I be able to assess myself?’ The literature addressed each of the aforementioned questions. The findings suggest that: in order to answer question one student engagement with criteria and exemplars is required; In order to answer question two students need to engage with tutor feedback that is clear, meaningful and related to criteria; Finally, in order to answer question three students must be given the opportunity to self-assess and be supported through this with feedback from the tutor. Practical suggestions are provided to assist tutors’ assessment practice. Proposed elements and benefits of the assessment process for tutors and students are outlined. In general, a formative approach to assessment is ideal for students. While engagement with the assessment process is valuable for the student it has to be planned for in advance by the tutor.

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