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Presentations for Group Assessment: effective and fair?

Author Grainne Madden and Justin Keogan
Abstract It is generally acknowledged that group projects are an important learning experience for students who are increasingly called upon to operate effectively in teams in the workplace. Many teachers are concerned that group assessment may not be fair, may not be perceived as fair and may not result in effective learning for students. This paper describes the use of group presentations as an assessment methodology by two lecturers of graduate business students. The students involved are postgraduates from a mix of cultures attending on a full-time basis. The initial motivations for introducing group presentations were a more engaged form of learning to encourage deeper level achievement of learning outcomes, a more trustworthy method of assessment to ensure greater fairness and transparency in assessment and an attempt to reconfigure lecturer workload. In terms of learning, presentations can be an effective way to ensure learning outcomes are met. The presentation approach aims to ensure greater application of the knowledge through a more engaging form of assessment. Presentations help to ensure fairer group assessment, as it is easier to identify non-performers, be seen to identify nonperformers and mark accordingly. While the workload for the lecturer is heavier upfront due to attendance at presentations, these presentations are for the most part engaging and the carrying out of corrections and providing feedback can be lighter than for traditional written assignments. This paper demonstrates the peer learning between lecturers in moving to this kind of assessment, provides some guidelines in the setting and marking of presentation assignments and some thinking about good practice regarding formative and summative feedback. The outcome of using group presentations is evaluated through surveys and focus group discussion, complemented by some individual feedback with the students after the presentations to explore their views on the effectiveness of the assessment strategy in terms of the learning experience and their engagement but also in terms of their perceptions of the fairness of the exercise.
Keywords group assessment, fairer assessment, presentations, peer learning, oral exam
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2014
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