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ERIC Number: EJ1142115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0309-877X
Prioritising Progression over Proficiency: Limitations of Teacher-Based Assessment within Technician-Level Vocational Education
Carter, Alan; Bathmaker, Ann-Marie
Journal of Further and Higher Education, v41 n4 p460-474 2017
This article examines the evolution of assessment policy and practice in technician-level vocational education. Using the example of an advanced-level BTEC National programme in Engineering in one college in the UK, the article highlights how the origins of current assessment practice lie in genuine concerns since the late 1950s about the appropriateness of examination-based assessment for assessing technician engineering skills, resulting in a shift to teacher-based, criterion-referenced assessment and an emphasis on formative feedback. Data are presented from a case study of assessment practice in an engineering department of one college of further and higher education in the UK during the academic years 2006-2008, which investigated salient influences and considerations underpinning lecturers' constructs of assessment. The study found a departmental ethos of facilitating students to achieve a pass, and the use of assessment methods that would ensure that students got through. However, lecturers were dubious whether their assessment practices developed the proficiency required for students' progression into HE or employment, and their practices did not appear to have a strong educational or occupational rationale for their approach. We argue that the limitations of teacher-based, criterion-referenced assessment and associated formative assessment practices, of which our study provides an example, contribute to a temptation to simply return to what is deemed more rigorous assessment through examination, which however may well bring back the problems identified in the past, of inappropriate approaches for assessing technician-level skills associated with low success rates.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A