Undergraduate primary education students' experience of assessment: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Paramore, J.R., 2017. Undergraduate primary education students' experience of assessment: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

The aim of this study has been to uncover and analyse undergraduate primary education trainees' experience of being summatively assessed in their academic work. The ultimate purpose of the study, therefore, is to identify implications for my professional practice, as a university tutor, derived from an understanding of how undergraduates experience the assessment process.

The study is framed by a consideration of current and past thinking on assessment and its purpose in higher education. The stated purposes of assessment are explored within the context of the contemporary culture of 'performativity' as identified by several authors. Students’ use of feedback is explored as is the nature of autonomy and independence in learning and the effect that summative assessment has on these putatively 'desirable' attributes of learners.

The chosen approach to the research (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) is justified as a means by which the totality of participants' experience can be explored and analysed. This takes into account the idea of a 'double hermeneutic' where the inquirer's initial assumptions about the topic of the research are openly articulated and explicitly modified as a result of engagement with the data. This study has provided new insights into the previously under-explored area how assessment is experienced. In particular it makes a unique contribution to the understanding and explanation of how students' approach to assessment takes the turn that it does towards instrumentalism and how communication and relationships in the feedback process become 'anti-dialogical'.

However, although many authors call for 'authentic' assessments that relate to 'real-life', I call for a broader, existential, concept of authenticity to be deployed. The conclusion of the study argues therefore, that in order to break free from the compartmentalised instrumentality of the current assessment regime, we might return to the ideas of critical pedagogy characterised by a love (as in 'commitment') for the whole human being rather than that element which is being assessed and measured.

These ideas, I suggest, could be synthesised with more recent ideas of the 'flipped classroom' to generate a more humanly focussed practice of 'flipped' assessment. However, this is a work for further study and exploration as there remain many barriers to progressing such ideas. Although there is pessimism amongst authors who feel that well-meaning changes will inevitably be subsumed by the current neo-liberal discourse, the study ends with a rallying call to action as to do nothing is not an option.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Paramore, J.R.
Date: December 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 03 May 2018 10:45
Last Modified: 03 May 2018 10:45
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33425

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