Linda Drew

  • Assessment as participation in practice

    Linda Drew and Alison Shreeve
    University of the Arts London

    Research seminar

    Themes: learning and teaching methods, supporting learners

    The opportunity presented by assessment is potentially the most powerful learning situation a student can encounter during their time in formal learning. This paper commences with a review of research which shows that both students and teachers can understand assessment in different ways (Samuelowicz and Bain, 2002; Shreeve et al, 2004a, 2004b) and how this presents a potential space in which a miss-match of intentions can result in some students not achieving their full potential. Students can adopt a different approach to assessment depending on the way they perceive the context and the approach it affords (Laurillard, 1984).

    This conceptual paper further discusses previous research into the way students in creative practice subjects perceive the nature of their subject. The quality of the learning environment in creative practice subjects relates to the context and the conceptions of learning and teaching held by both teacher and student (Drew, 2004; Drew & Williams, 2003; Reid & Davies, 2000) and the way in which they understand assessment. Conceptions of teaching held by creative practice academics support the notion of a community of practice dimension where the most complete conceptions concern helping learners becoming a practitioner through change in the student lifeworld. This paper explores the role assessment could play in student learning if teachers also understood assessment to be about a process of becoming a practitioner, rather than a discrete function of grading and sorting skills and abilities.

    The paper takes as its premise the idea of learning as a social practice, that of engaging in legitimate peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger, 1991) into a community of practice (Wenger, 2000). In this sense, we propose that assessment becomes an aspect of community in which both teachers and students are engaged in interaction, with the purpose of creating an identity associated with the creative profession of future employment.

    References

    • Drew, L (2004) The experience of teaching creative practices: conceptions and approaches to teaching in the community of practice dimension. In proceedings of the second Cltad International Conference, Enhancing Curricula: The Scholarship Of Learning And Teaching In Art And Design Barcelona, April 2004.
    • Drew, L and Williams, C (2003) Variation in the experience of teaching creative practices: the community of practice dimension. In Rust, C (ed) Improving Student Learning: Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice – 10 years on (pp 119-129) Oxford: Oxford Brookes University, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development.
    • Lave, J and Wenger, E (1991) Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation.Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
    • Laurillard, D (1984) Styles And Approaches In Problem Solving. In Marton, Hounsell And Entwhistle (Eds) The Experience Of Learning: Implications For Teaching And Studying In Higher Education. Edinburgh, Scottish Academic Press
    • Reid, A and Davies, A (2000), Uncovering Problematics in Design Education: Learning and The Design Entity, In Swann, C and Young, E (eds) Reinventing Design Education In The University (pp 179-185) Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia
    • Samuelowicz, K and Bain, J (2002) Identifying Academics’ Orientations To Assessment Practice Higher Education Vol 43 pp 173-201
    • Shreeve, A, Baldwin, J and Farraday, G (2004a) Variation In Student Conceptions Of Assessment. In Rust, C (ed) Improving Student Learning: Theory Research And Scholarship. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University, Oxford Centre For Staff And Learning Development.
    • Shreeve, A, Baldwin, J and Farraday, G (2004b) Variation In Student Conceptions Of Learning Outcomes in the Design Project. In proceedings of the second Cltad International Conference, Enhancing Curricula: The Scholarship Of Learning And Teaching In Art And Design Barcelona, April 2004.
    • Wenger, E (2000) Communities Of Practice. Learning Meaning And Identity. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press