Quality of WIL assessment design in higher education: a systematic literature review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Higher Education Research and Development, 2018, 37 (4), pp. 788 - 804
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© 2018 HERDSA. We investigated the quality of work-integrated learning (WIL) assessment design in higher education programmes, through review of peer-reviewed studies published internationally and in English, 1990–2015. Such a review is timely in light of vested interests from a range of WIL stakeholders; high-level endorsement of WIL across university programmes; a regulatory environment requiring development and assurance of higher-order learning outcomes; and a WIL assessment literature that identifies a number of challenges and opportunities. We searched six electronic databases, yielding 20 intervention studies that met inclusion criteria. Findings reveal high-quality assessment design, albeit a need for greater involvement of industry/professional partners in assessment practices and stronger alignment between reflective assessment tasks and students' WIL experiences. The evidence base under review largely comprised qualitative and mixed methods studies, with the indication that the quality of the study design had improved over time, although variably across disciplinary fields. The key recommendation from this review is that resources are needed to support research-active WIL academics, partners and students to: (a) design and participate in assessment practices, which promote integration of student learning, across university and work settings, and achievement of higher-order learning outcomes and (b) pursue a collaborative research agenda involving robust evaluation research, inclusive of quantitative studies.
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