Academic Spaghetti Revisted!

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ImageDo we try and over-assess everything? Are we better when we do something because we want to do it, rather than being told we must do it? Is there now a fundamental pre-occupation, that unless we can tick the quantitative results box then it does not really register as a merit, because criteria and protocol have not been met.

I address this dilemma out of a real academic need and that discourse on the subject of student assessments is of major significance in the current climate of the student experience!

Students the world over currently are doing multi-choice tests, assignments. group presentations, dissertations, research, live client projects whilst the ‘academic spaghetti mountain’ for them keeps increasing without any inclination to being reduced. .

The more worrying aspect of this though maybe, where is the research and desire for the question to be asked.

Why?

Are these assessments necessary for the future world that these students are graduating for and towards? Do they constitute best practice when considering their own needs with the needs and requirements of the institutions and ourselves as academics?

Finally the world is changing and changing rapidly.

Are we as a profession keeping pace with this change? Do we understand the force of these changes and who is driving them. The feeling from this researcher is that we are not really always putting the student first in this debate and certainly not engaging through the right channels to contribute effectivey in this necessary debate and process.

The best way to get the best results is to ask the right questions. Before we can enteratin this process we need to revisit all of the above…and soon!

The best way to answer this is by reseach first and then by entering into meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders..

Would be interested to hear from fellow academics on this subject.

A possible strategic freedom for students in assessment might me a term paper on the work conducted   or a return to a viva process in conjunction with the above and as such might be a considered alternative.

These ideas are in there infancy so continue to watch,listen and contribute to the discourse as it unfolds and I welcome constructive & critical comments

Alan J Seymour

Northampton & Cambridge

March 2012

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