Undergraduate business and management students’ experiences of being involved in assessment
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This study aimed to explore university undergraduates’ experiences of student involvement in assessment (SIA). Based on Biggs’ 3P model of student learning, this study focused on students’ experiences prior to SIA, during SIA and after SIA in three Business and Management modules. Applying this framework, different practices of involving students in assessment (peer assessment, self assessment or self designed assessment) were studied from the perspectives of the students concerned. Unlike other studies that normally test to what extent the designed outcomes of SIA have been met, the goal of this research was to reveal the inside picture of how students were coping with those SIA tasks and their learning. This picture was outlined from students’ perceptions of SIA, the main factors that might influence students’ engagement with SIA, and students’ reflections on SIA practice in the particular module. This study adopted mixed research methods with sequential explorative design. It employed the ETLA (Environment of Teaching, Learning and Assessment) questionnaire and follow up semi-structured interviews. There were in total 251 valid questionnaire responses from students and 18 valid student interviews. The data were collected from three undergraduate Business and Management degree modules in which different strategies were used to involve students in assessment. The three innovative modules were all from Scottish universities in which assessment practices were being re-engineered by involving students in assessment. Two of the modules had participated in the REAP (Re-engineering Assessment Practice) project. However, they were different from each other in terms of the way in which they involved students in assessment and the level or extent of student involvement in assessment that was entailed. The report and analysis of the findings has taken three main forms. First, the module context including the teaching, learning and assessment environment and student learning approaches and satisfactions in the particular module were compared and analysed using the questionnaire data. The results showed a strong association between the elements in the teaching and learning environment and student learning approaches. They also indicated that the quality of teaching, feedback and learning support played significant roles in the quality of student learning. Secondly, an analysis of the interview data was undertaken to examine why and how students would learn differently in different module contexts with different SIA practices, and how students were coping with their learning in the SIA tasks concerned. In addressing these questions, students’ previous experiences in SIA, and knowledge about SIA, peers’ influence, teachers’ support and training for SIA, interaction between and among students and teachers, the clarity of the module objectives and requirements and learning resources were found to be the major factors that might influence students’ engagement in the SIA. Additionally, the salient learning benefits and challenges of SIA as perceived by students were explored. Thirdly, based on the preceding findings, the analysis of each module aimed to further consider in what way the three modules differed from each other with respect to SIA practices, and how students responded in the three different module contexts in terms of their engagement with SIA. These three forms of analysis made it possible to gain a rich understanding of students’ experiences of SIA that could also feed into a consideration of what kind of support the students might need in order to better engage them into the SIA and better prepare them for life-long learning.