Multimodal Assessment for Higher Education: Student Engagement in Rubric Design in an Environmental Science Module

Siew Mei WU
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Susan TAN
National University of Singapore, Singapore


Assessment is recognised to affect the approach to learning that students take (Brown & Knight, 1994). This paper examines the psychometric validity of a multimodal assessment rubric that was designed through an iterative process of engagement with key stakeholders - students, content specialists and communication lecturers. Sixty students in a communications module for environmental studies were divided into 18 project groups to create a video on an environmental problem for the general public. While we explore various factors which shape the rubric design for this task, students' perspectives and reflections on the criteria for evaluating such a video is investigated closely in this study. This constructivist approach attempts to integrate assessment and learning; instead of traditional roles of students as passive recipients of pre-determined assessment criteria, students are now active participants who make meaning of assessment within their own personal and cognitive constructs (Rust, O'Donovan & Price, 2003). Examination of the students' reflection journals indicate that they found the involvement in creating an assessment tool raised their critical awareness in appraising multimodal content which in turn helped them to better understand the requirements of the task. The rubric that was developed was used to assess the video projects and was validated using the many-facet Rasch Model (MFRM). The results of the MFRM analysis indicate that most of the items in the assessment criteria are performing within expected fit to the Rasch model and raters are able to use the rubric to reliably separate student performance.

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