Assessment drives student learning.

Effective assessments encourage learning and the application of knowledge and skills. They should evidence learning as well as develop and reinforce positive strategies and minimise inappropriate behaviours.

 student working with a patient

Assessment in the Block

Authentic assessment

Authentic assessment underpins assessment in the Block. An authentic assessment should be designed to:

  • mimic professional practice and enable the acquisition and application of professional knowledge, skills and experience
  • leverage theoretical knowledge learned in the unit and connect to the workplace
  • be student-centred, thus increasing validity, relevance and engagement
  • pull together depth and breadth of learning
  • maintain a focus on the student's future career through clear alignment with the curriculum
  • provide conditions and contexts relevant to the changing workplace
  • be challenging and achievable

Use these ideas in conjunction with the following examples to design authentic assessments.

Effectively assessing learning in the Block

Focus assessment tasks on evidencing the learning outcomes and demonstrating relevant professional skills. Consider a range of tasks that can effectively:

  • demonstrate the skills, knowledge and capabilities in the learning outcomes
  • increase the likelihood that students are submitting their own work for assessment, and
  • balance potential limitations of a particular method with a complementary assessment

Planning your assessments

  • Apply a variety of assessment types to demonstrate learning
  • Design for consistency and effectiveness in feedback and marking
  • Build the development of skills into the assessment
  • Keep in mind the short timeline for providing feedback in the block

To minimise inappropriate sharing and/or contract cheating:

  • include a reflective component in the assessment
  • plan time in class for students to work on completing assessment tasks
  • include personalised contributions and oral presentations

Preparing students for assessment

For these strategies to work, students need to specifically know what is expected from them. It is important to:

  • Provide clarity about the assessment task. Explain and stipulate all requirements
  • Provide appropriate scaffolding for assessment tasks and ample opportunity to practise
  • Make sure students are able to interpret the assessment criteria—discuss the criteria in class, using examples of student work to illustrate.
  • Use a rubric to help students understand what is expected.
  • Develop students’ ability to evaluate their own work. Encourage them to grade their own work by completing the rubric prior to submitting to the Dropbox and discuss the differences between their self-evaluation and the assessor’s.

VU Assessment Policy Requirements for Block

  • The first assessment task must be submitted within the first week and weighted no more than 30%.
  • Marks are uploaded by Friday of the final week of the Block—make sure the last assessment task can be marked efficiently to meet this deadline.
  • Unsupervised tests should make up no more than 20% of the final grade.

Assessment examples

These are examples of assessments that work well in the block.

  • Reports and proposals: Use reports, proposals, debates and case-based role-plays to assess students’ ability to contribute individually and collectively to group outcomes.
  • Field trips: Integrate field trips with assessment tasks. Be sure to articulate the links between the field trip and in-class activities.
  • Presentations: To address breadth vs depth issues, use group presentations which include individual students sharing specialist knowledge and audience members providing peer feedback/ focused questions.
  • Journals or blogs: Use a journal, a blog, oral presentation or a reflective statement for students to articulate how they achieved the unit learning outcomes.
  • Collaborative work: Extend collaborative work in class to assessment tasks and make sure students are clear about what is expected.

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Related articles

  • Deakin University (n.d). ‘Authentic Assessment' (PDF), Francis, J.E. (2018).