CRADLE Seminar Series: Re-imagining Exams: assessment adjustments impact
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Exams and other high-stakes time-limited assessments can act as barriers to success for students with disabilities (SWD). However, a system which focuses only on making reactive accommodations is likely to become overwhelmed as more diverse students increasingly participate in higher education. Rather than continuing to view disability as a problem to address at an individual level, a shift to focus on inclusive assessment design may also hold promise for a broader range of diverse students.
In this seminar, Dr Joanna Tai will present the findings from her NCSEHE funded research project which involved colleagues at CRADLE (A/Prof Rola Ajjawi, Prof Margaret Bearman, Dr Mary Dracup & Ms Paige Mahoney) and CQU (Dr Joanne Dargusch & Dr Lois Harris). The project firstly sought to better understand SWDs’ experiences of exams and other high-stakes time-limited assessments through in-depth interviews across two universities. Then, assessment stakeholders (academics, accessibility staff, and students) participated in workshops, grappling with aspects of exam design to identify what could be modified to improve inclusion in four specific units (i.e. modules or subjects) of study.
Project findings overall suggest that, while most students had experiences that were not inclusive in relation to their high-stakes timed assessment, there was no single “easy” solution to re-imagining exams, with a combination of approaches required. The workshops were a valuable space to tackle dilemmas together. A shift to a broader understanding of inclusion underpinned actions to improve student-staff interactions, communication between stakeholders, and assessment arrangements. Changes made possible due to Covid-19 were also recognised as contributing to inclusive assessment.
Joanna will also provide an overview of the resources developed as part of the project, so join the seminar for further insights on inclusive assessment design and how everyone can contribute to improving diverse students’ experiences and success in higher education.
Read the full report here