Sun | Apr 26, 2015

Look to alternative student assessment - UTech lecturer

Published:Friday | March 9, 2012

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies at the University of Technology, Michael-Anthony Dobson-Lewis, is recommending that more emphasis be placed on alternative methods of assessment of students in secondary and tertiary institutions.

Dobson-Lewis was speaking with The Gleaner following his presentation on 'Alternative Assessment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)' at the University of the West Indies/UNESCO Caribbean Conference on TVET at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James.

Current methods lacking

Dobson-Lewis indicated that traditional assessment methods have proven to be lacking.

"I am advocating for greater weight or emphasis to be placed on alternative assessment right across the education system in Jamaica," he said. "Traditional assessment is summative in nature while alternative assessment is formative and diagnostic in nature, which is very important. Traditional assessment focuses mainly on the cognitive, while alternative is more inclusive, embracing the affective (emotional) and psychomotor (relationship between learning and physical activity)."

Dobson-Lewis said the traditional system had serious limitations, citing that in most instances, feedback to students is focused on wrong answers, adding that too much emphasis was being placed on learning tasks that stimulate test questions.

"We have to begin to allow students to become more active participants in their own learning which ultimately leads to greater student motivation and participation," he said.

Proposed alternatives

Speaking specifically to alternative assessment strategies in TVET, Dobson-Lewis recommended preplanned collection of students work and other data, which represents the students' accomplishments as well as peer assessment.

"Peer assessment is done among students and feedback is provided. It allows students to take responsibility for their own learning and to gain insight into their own performance," he said.

The conference, which ends today, has among its objectives the formulation of a TVET policy for the Caribbean region.

barrington.flemming@gleanerjm.com