Research as Assessment for Learning vs Assessment of Learning at Higher Education


At higher education, students are terminally assessed through a research output that demonstrates their originality, creativity, innovativeness, and contribution to knowledge and problem solving in society. However, the assessment process, unlike the traditional pencil-and-paper and other performance assessments which are thoroughly proctored by the examiner, is one that is loosely structured. Depending on whether the student engrosses in undertaking research as an assessment by mastery orientation or performance orientation or both will determine whether the research process serves as an assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning. In this article it is argued using a critical review of literature that higher education students who use mastery orientation to research will pursue a deep learning of both the theoretical and practical demands of their research, in which case what is learned is enduring. Hence research as a terminal assessment will serve as an assessment for learning. On the other hand, students engaged in research through performance orientation are likely to engage in surface learning of taking ethical shortcuts in the pursuit and just wanting the work done, presented, and passed. In this case, what is learned from the research process is not enduring, and hence the process serves as assessment of learning for a short while. It is recommended among others that institutional policies and faculty practices on research conduct should engender deep learning through mastery orientation as opposed to surface learning through performance orientation so as to foster research as an assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning.

Author Information
Dennis Zami Atibuni, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2019
Stream: Educational Research

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon