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ERIC Number: EJ867453
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0258-2236
"Quit School and Become a Taxi Driver": Reframing First-Year Students' Expectations of Assessment in a University Environment
Niven, Penelope
Perspectives in Education, v27 n3 p278-288 Sep 2009
The context of this research is an academic writing course for first-year Social Science students on a four-year extended curriculum at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This course traditionally uses written formative feedback on drafts of students' assignments and the lecturers were frustrated by the students' negative, minimal responses to the extensive advice they were offering. Drawing from a wide range of perspectives and theories, one of the lecturers explored the reasons for the students' reactions and planned a curricular intervention to address them. A series of classes raised students' awareness of assessment issues, introducing some basic principles of assessment which were then applied in a peer assessment task. The data emerging suggest that students' school-based understandings of assessment were reframed and that this, in turn, had an impact on how they made sense of the writing process in a new academic context. This study also reframed the lecturers' notions of the "self-evident" value of written formative feedback on students' assignments--to be effective it needs scaffolded mediation within the particular socio-cultural environment in which it is offered. Another outcome was the lecturers' critical interrogation of some of the pedagogical "orthodoxies" which commonly frame academic writing courses in South African universities, like Process Writing and Genre Theory's notion of feedback as "expert" advice offered to "novices". Formative feedback may be more useable if novice writers are trained to peer-apprentice each other, thereby becoming more "self-regulated" in the process.
Perspectives in Education. Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. Tel: +27-12-420-4732; Fax: +27-12-420-3003; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa