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Student perspectives on the relationship between assessment methods and retention of learning in higher education

Kanuga, I. (2019) Student perspectives on the relationship between assessment methods and retention of learning in higher education. EdD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Over the last two decades, higher education in the UK has gone through significant changes. With the implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework and accreditation by the Higher Education Academy, there have been higher levels of accountability towards course development underpinned by researched pedagogy. Better understanding of the influences of the learning environment and the links between assessments and student’s approaches to learning has led to academics being more innovative in their methods of education and has seen them adopt a more student-centred approach. Although in higher education circles the importance of building soft skills, like critical thinking, are being underlined; employers are asking for graduates to also recall and demonstrate the professional knowledge and understanding they gained during their studies. With an interest to gain an insight into what learning approach might be lined to retention of knowledge, this thesis examines the student perception of different assessment methods and the factors that may influence surface and deeper learning from their point of view. Using an embedded mixed methods design, the study has considered student analytics of attainment and engagement data for three different assessments: an exam, an essay and a phased assessment for a cohort of 105 students over a two-year period. These were compared with the results of an assessment experience questionnaire and interviews with students and lecturers. The research took place at a modern University in London. The findings demonstrated that students want active classrooms with tutors who challenge their learning in a creative way using stories, case studies and assessment strategies which can be linked to their future learning skills and application to industry. Such learning, teaching and assessment strategies will help the student embed this learning into their longer-term memory. In response to the findings, the study offers a way to design and deliver curriculum and assessment methods to maximise student learning and retention of learning, in particular considering those students who have lesser engagement opportunities. The concept of “LAAAM” provides a framework to integrate these findings and act upon them, creating a platform which should stimulate a deep learning approach by students and help them retain the knowledge gained from their learning.

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Thesis Supervisor:Fuller, C.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:88670

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