Using Exemplars to Enhance Student Understandings of Assessment Standards and Self-evaluative Capabilities

Kar Yan Jessica TO
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


Student understandings of quality are crucial for effective interpretation of feedback. However, some practitioners face time constraint and pedagogical challenges in explicating tacit assessment criteria. This presentation reports the use of exemplars to develop students’ assessment literacy and self-evaluative capabilities.

Through action research, two cohorts of first year business students participated in peer and teacher-led discussion of two (one good and one poor) exemplars in pre-assessment stage. Data collection included open-ended survey and focus group interviews with students, semi-structured interviews with a critical friend and self-reflective journal. A role-ordered matrix was utilized to triangulate the voices of different parties and facilitate reflection-on-practice.

Both types of dialogues played a complementary role in engineering a supportive environment for developing assessment literacy. Peer discussion was useful in establishing confidence for meaning negotiation, and teacher-led interaction was effective in enabling students to assimilate the notion of quality. With a grasp of standards, they could use the exemplars as a performance base to regulate their own work. The presentation suggests the significant role of facilitative dialogues in unpacking the complexities of assessment standards and developing learner agency in feedback process.

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