Measuring the Quality of the Assessment Process: Dealing with Grading Inconsistency

Here is the link to the paper, which examines an assessment process within the context of quality, accountability and institutional effectiveness in academia.

Considered as one of the key processes, which has an impact on teaching and learning, assessment plays a significant role in shaping a holistic picture of quality as well as the academic performance of a higher education institution. It is of utmost importance that appropriate requirements are established, applied consistently and communicated effectively among various groups of stakeholders. The lack of a systematic approach in this matter as well as the lack of specific performance measures of the assessment process misshape the image of students’ (and graduates’) academic capacity.

References:

Wosik, D. (2014) Measuring the quality of the assessment process: dealing with grading inconsistency. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 8(1). pp. 32-40.

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Grade Inflation and its Impact on Quality in Higher Education

Grade inflation in teaching and learning, in assessing the achievement of student learning outcomes to be precise, seems to be a day-to-day practice in higher education (e.g. Millet, 2010; http://gradeinflation.com/, 2013; Pressman, 2007).

What grades do most of the students actually receive? What is it that proudly stands on their diplomas? Is it a “C”?

Considering grade inflation a common and world-wide trend, it is worth discussing what its most frequent and severe consequences are. What kind of impact does the grade inflation have on the quality of teaching and learning?

There are many perspectives to take into consideration while analyzing the possible effects of grade inflation. One of them is the student’s perspective – and to which extent grade inflation has an impact on student engagement in learning. There is no doubt that the student engagement will depend on how assessment and grades reflect his/her actual academic performance (Asante et al., 2012). Will the student engage further if (s)he gets an “A” without putting too much effort to obtain it? What about the best of the best in the class? What sort of influence will such a situation have on their morale (if they receive the same grades as those who simply don’t deserve it)?

The employer’s perspective, on the other hand, indicates potential difficulties in recruiting graduates. Just imagine 100+ candidates with an “A” on their diplomas? Who is in fact the best candidate among all the applicants? The employer would be confused and would not be able to make any decision based on the overall Grade Point Average (GPA). There is no distinction between the quality of the candidates in this matter.
The state, on the other side, recognizes the quality of the degrees with its authority and an emblem printed on the diploma.

Considering the importance of assessment in assuring quality of a degree, the assessment criteria need to be communicated effectively among all interested parties. “The criteria for and method of assessment as well as criteria for marking are published in advance (…) [to allow] students to demonstrate the extent to which the intended learning outcomes have been achieved. Students are given feedback, which, if necessary, is linked to advice on the learning process” ( EURASHE, 2015).
What does it mean if a student gets an “A”, “B”, “C”, etc.? Does a “C” mean that the student has met the basic course requirements in the course syllabus? Do “A” and “B” mean that a student has exceeded the course requirements?

Assessing students is one of the processes in higher education which unquestionably has a significant impact on the overall quality of a university. The lack of requirements and regulations in this matter, as well as the lack of specific quality measures, result in a false image of students’, and consequently, graduates’ academic ability and performance.

What needs to be measured then and what kind of information needs to be disseminated within an implemented and maintained quality assurance system? Is there anything that needs to be taken into consideration while evaluating the performance of a teacher? Grade distribution (not necessarily having the Gaussian distribution as the standard to follow), the difference between the course work and the final exam results, common examinations (Bond, 2009) are only the examples of measuring grade consistency.

There are many practical solutions to this matter. Their efficiency will depend on a particular context which a university or a college operates in. There is no doubt though that this aspect of the learning process is critical while managing an overall academic performance. Accordingly, this implies the necessity of having implemented sufficient mechanisms to manage the quality of the assessment process.

For more about quality of the assessment process, see: Measuring the Quality of the Assessment Process: Dealing with Grading Inconsistency.

References:

[1] Asante C., Al-Mahrooqi R., Abrar-ul-Hassan S., The Effects of Three Teachers Variables on the Use of Motivational Strategies in EFL Instruction in Oman, “TESOL Arabia Perspectives”, Vol. 19, No. 1, January 2012, p. 12-22.
[2] Bond, L. (2009). The Case for Common Examination. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Retrieved January 23, 2013 from http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/perspectives/case-common-examinations.
[3] European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, Brussels, 2015.
[4] GradeInflation.com, Grade Inflation at American Colleges and Universities, retrieved January 23rd, 2013 from http://gradeinflation.com.
[5] Millet I., Improving Grading Consistency through Grade Lift Reporting, “Practical Assessment Research & Evaluation”, Vol. 15, No. 4, May 2010.
[6] Pressman S., The Economics of Grade Inflation, “Challenge”, vol. 50, no. 5, September/October 2007, pp. 93–102.

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What Education Entails: A Teacher’s Perspective

by Sule Berilgen Duzgun

I strongly believe that teaching in fact is learning. It is reciprocal because as we teach we learn and teach as we learn. Thus, for learning to take place, both the student and the teacher have to be actively engaged in the learning process. This will in fact have a direct impact in the classroom and encourage teachers to provide a positive learning environment which will directly affect the motivation of learners in the classroom. The teacher’s primary role then is to learn about the student profile; their culture, previous learning experiences and the possible reasons for their desire to learn. It is only then that a teacher can develop ways of enhancing the learning process for learners and encourage learners in reaching their optimal potential.

In addition, a teacher cannot ensure communication with learners unless he/she is able to establish a positive environment in which there is mutual respect. The boundaries should be set so that respect does not develop due to fear but because of the desire to learn.

My belief as a teacher is that education does not only entail the teaching of a particular subject but also the sharing of knowledge. Thus, it is imperative to incorporate general knowledge and global issues across the curriculum.

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Publish your point of view

Our mission is to disseminate quality awareness in higher education.

You are more than welcome to voice your insights about quality in higher education. Each of your entries for publishing will be considered individually.

Should you have any ideas or questions, please contact us via our FanPage.

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Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

by Dawid Wosik

Adopted by Bologna Ministers in 2005 Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area outline the requirements for quality assurance within the European Higher Education Area. In the context of the internal factors determining quality in higher education, the first part of the guidelines, i.e.: „Standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance” gains great significance. Although the chapter presents some components of an internal quality assurance system, it doesn’t mention any specific and practical solutions and mechanisms. It is up to an individual institution how the standards will be addressed.

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Studying NOT Allowed

We advise not to apply to universities which have not been accredited. This applies to both institutional and program accreditation. Find out if a university you are considering meets the accreditation standards of a well-recognized accreditation agency.

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University Quality Profile

Mea Universitas aims to promote high standards of quality with special focus on effective solutions in the field of quality assurance and quality management in higher education. We encourage you to share your institutional knowledge, make yourself a role model to follow by others and promote your university among prospective students and partners.

Each submission for the “University Quality Profile” will be considered individually. Should you be interested or have any further questions, please contact us via Mea Universitas’ FanPage.

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Filed under For Candidates, For Employers, For Parents, For the State, For Universities

Which university should I choose?

Don’t let them pull your leg!

Before making the final decision and selecting the university you want to study at, it is important to realize that these next couple of years will determine (at least to some extent) your future career and life standard of yours and your family. Make sure you put your future in safe and reliable hands. Do not hesitate to ask questions and demand. It is your life and your future success – it is your choice.

You are one of hundreds of thousands that have an impact and can change the quality of higher education in your country and world-wide. Remember, the quality of education must not be compromised and you have the right to demand the very best. Again, it is solely your decision and you are fully entitled to the most reliable and accurate information before you entrust your ambitions, aspirations and dreams in others hands.

What questions you may want to consider asking then? Here are some examples:

  1. Are you accredited? If yes, what kind of accreditation is it? If not, why not – isn’t actually required to be accredited? Do you have any plans in this regard? Have you ever failed in your accreditation efforts?
  2. Do you provide students with work placement opportunities? How much time does the work experience take?
  3. Do you participate in any student exchange programs? Will I have a chance to study abroad?
  4. What are the opportunities to study in foreign languages?
  5. What are my employment chances after graduating with a degree of my choice? Can you show me the graduate employment rate statistics for the programs you offer?
  6. Is there a career center at your university? Do you actively support your graduates or about-to-graduate students in finding jobs? How do you do that?
  7. How do you know that the programs you offer are relevant and meet the labor market needs?
  8. Do you have any formal recognition (except for accreditation) that your university and/or programs you offer meet international standards of quality?
  9. Are there any professional certifications embedded within your programs so I have more than a diploma when I graduate?
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