Agony Aunt: change behaviour by changing assessment requirements

September 21, 2001

A. Since the advent of modularisation, students have gone assessment crazy and tend to refuse to do anything for which they do not receive a grade. Therefore, the best way to change student behaviour is by changing assessment requirements. Making seminar participation count for 10 per cent of their overall mark should provide a motivational kick-start, then try giving each student a small task in preparation for every class.

For example, they could each be required to generate one discussion point on an electronic bulletin board. If a deadline of 24 hours before the class is set, this will allow you to cut and paste the points together and provide a discussion sheet for the seminar, which can be chaired by one of the students while you sit back and assess their performance.

This type of activity encourages students to participate in the entire course, rather than just targeting essay and exam questions. The discussion sheets provide a useful revision aid and a verifiable resource for external examiners and inspectors.

Stephen Perrin, Learning and teaching fellow, School of Humanities, Liverpool Hope

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