Successful engagement in graduate attribute assessment using software

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Campus-Wide Information Systems, 2009, 26 (5), pp. 400 - 412
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Purpose - The benefits of an educational shift to graduate attribute development have been foregrounded in the educational literature since the early 1990s. Attribute mapping in documentation with no change to assessment constitutes a surface approach. This paper aims to use as an example a deep approach that uses software to facilitate staff and student engagement. Design/methodology/approach - In 2002 the author developed online criteria-based assessment software ReView, together with a process involving the constructive alignment of assessment tasks. This was used in an academic development context to assist staff to integrate graduate attribute development through the assessment of student work. The time-saving features of the online software, colour-coded feedback about attribute development and its facilitation of students' self-assessment were significantly successful parts of this approach. Findings - A time-saving strategy using software as a facilitator can encourage change to assessment practices. The inclusion of discipline content as part of attribute-related assessment criteria assisted staff engagement with a developmental approach to attributes. Top-down directives need bottom-up processes and both are assisted by factors such as external accreditation and course reviews. Originality/value - The paper clarifies graduate attribute terminology issues and identifies problems with "top-down directives". It describes innovative online criteria-based assessment software used to facilitate graduate attribute integration and student self-assessment. Assessment processes that give students a progressive portrait of their attribute development are few and far between. This paper offers data about one successful approach to this issue. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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