Skills development through authentic assessment

"Case Study: Skills development through authentic assessment" Dr Alan Cann, School of Biological Sciences

Presented at the 3rd Annual Learning and Teaching Conference on Tuesday 30 June 2015.

Recording (12 minutes)



"Authentic assessment" is relevant to real-world outcomes and is engaging for students (Ashford-Rowe et al., 2014).  In the last year I have run a new module taken by all Biological Sciences students.  For this module I have developed an innovative approach to skills teaching which aims to provide students with a practical appreciation of the processes involved in 'doing science', including practical tasks from literature searching through experimental design and consideration of ethical issues to techniques for presentation of results in different formats.  This module employs a team-based learning approach which represents a shift from a teacher-based strategy to a student-centred one which requires realignment from traditional delivery methods.

By the end of the module students are able to discuss, plan and implement a research hypothesis, search for information effectively using online databases, appreciate the ethical implications and associated legal requirements of different types of biological research and be able to apply these to their proposal, and to critically evaluate primary research literature.  This is a challenging task for students at the beginning of the second year of their degree course, but the quality of work produced has been outstanding.  This experience equips students to perform at a high level in final year research projects, and in their career after graduation whether that involves scientific research or any form of activity where team working, negotiation or originality is an essential skill.

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