n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Aligned assessment in support of high-level learning : a critical appraisal of an assignment for a distance-teaching context




This paper takes the form of a critical appraisal of a formative assessment task given to students in an entry-level English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course in an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) context at the University of South Africa (UNISA). The article describes a specific formative assessment task in an ODL learning context and touches on issues of self-regulated learning and appropriation of student writing. Biggs' theory of constructive alignment, which underpins the assignment, requires an evaluation of the degree to which students construct meaning from learning tasks and the extent to which the assessment is synchronised with learning outcomes and learning activities of the course. The assignment described in this article was an outcome of doctoral research (Spencer 1999) which proved empirically the value of requiring both revision and self-assessment in a writing assignment in a distance-teaching context. These statistically significant findings provided empirical support for self-regulated learning and prompted the design of the assignment described in this article.


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