n South African Journal of Higher Education - Lecturers, students and community members sharing the responsibility of assessing project-based poster presentations : perspectives on higher education

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Active participation in the process of learning rather than transmission of information is prominent in modern higher education contexts. In alignment with this trend, traditional modes of assessment, based on the "transmission model", are increasingly replaced or supplemented by more authentic forms of assessment. Authentic assessment "measures" the application of knowledge and skills in real-world contexts and ideally involves learners in the assessment process. The purpose of this article is to report on lecturers, students and community members sharing the responsibility of assessing a project-based poster presentation. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used in capturing data. Analysis and interpretation of data were performed with the immediate goal of gaining a better understanding of the assessment exercise, and to improve existing practice. The investigation revealed the challenges and pitfalls of involving first-year students and representatives of the community in assessment. Comparison of student-derived marks and those given by a panel of academic staff served to evaluate students' readiness to take responsibility for co-assessment. The students' views on the relevance of the exercise revealed that exposing students to situations which require them to respond objectively to peers' work, conveys the message that skills matter, and thus contributes to the development thereof.

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