Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, First International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Enhancing the formative value of self- and peer-marking through ‘Test Workshops’
Laurie Woollacott

Last modified: 10-06-2015


This paper reports on the development of ‘Test Workshops’ in a first year chemical and metallurgical engineering course in a South African university.  The workshops were designed to enhance student learning through a combination of self-assessment, reflection and group interaction.  The development began with an investigation into the summative and formative value of self- and peer-assessment in the context of the course and how the students responded to these unfamiliar forms of assessment.  While the accuracy of both self- and peer-marking was found to be inadequate for summative purposes, their formative value was found to be considerable.  Based on these findings, the Test Workshop format was designed as a sequence of activities that consisted of writing a short problem-based test under summative test conditions, followed immediately by a group discussion of the solution to the problem, followed by self-marking of the individual solutions against a model answer and marking rubric, followed by a written reflection.  Analysis of the students’ experiences found that the effectiveness of this format as a learning methodology was very encouraging and that it had applicability in a wide range of contexts.


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