CfLaT seminar: Clara Pereira Coutinho

Assessing student learning in Higher Education: the potential of alternative methods

Wednesday 28 October, 16.30-18.00

Dr Clara Pereira Coutinho, Center for Child Studies Minho University  – Braga – Portugal.

Within the context of change in Higher Education, there is growing recognition of the importance of assessment as a key factor for quality teaching and learning and academic achievement. Existing international literature points to the need to examine further the impact of different methods, especially the so called alternative methods, for students’ learning and achievement as well as for teaching methods in classroom, as evidence of their effectiveness is still scarce. Also of importance is the need to

better understand the ways in which different methods of assessment lead to different learning approaches and academic achievement. Earlier work has shown that assessment plays a key role on how students spend their time and what they regard as important, and this can have either positive or negative influences on their learning. This is even more crucial at a time of great pressure and change upon Higher Education institutions, resulting from the Bologna process which emphasises the need

for a more student centred paradigm, one which recognises the need for independent learning and development of both technical and soft skills. Within this context, it is essential to get to know what has changed in higher education in terms of teaching and learning and, especially in terms of assessment and feedback, as these have implications for the development of teaching learning process and academic achievement. Literature has also highlighted that more empirical work is needed in order to provide sufficient data to develop a comparative profile of assessment practices used in HE institutions in different courses and different countries. The main goal of this project is then to examine what is known and what needs to be known in this regard by exploring the questions that remain answered. In this seminar we will present the state of the art on this issue, combining a review of existing literature on the use of different methods and perspectives to explore assessment in HE in order to identify and disseminate best practices, in particular those involving ICT.

Key Words: Higher Education, Assessment, Alternative Methods, ICT.

To register for the seminar please email


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