How do students prepare for traditional and portfolio assessment in a problem-based learning curriculum?

Kim Chow Catherine TANG, Kwok Tung Patrick LAI, D. ARTHUR, S. F. LEUNG

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

In line with the constructivist view of education, Problem-based Learning (PBL) facilitates active construction of knowledge through engaging with information in the context of meaningful problems or situations, and by using high level learning strategies. Mos t res earch in PBL s eems to focus on the implementation of P BL a s a t eaching approach. The role of assessment in enhancing the type of learning expected in PBL appears to have been neglected. It is argued that to optimize the effects of PBL on learning, assessment methods will have to be constructively aligned with the theory and philosophy of PBL. Traditional assessment methods such as tests and examinations have been shown to encourage students to engage in low-level cognitive strategies in preparing for the assessment, such as memorizing and reproducing (Scouller 1996, Scouller & Prosser, 1994; Tang, 1994). If these assessment methods were incorporated in a PBL curriculum, they would degrade the quality of learning that PBL should otherwise encourage. To be aligned with the objectives of problem-based teaching and learning, assessment methods should require students to take an active role in providing evidence of their learning, and also engage in high level cognitive strategies, such as integration, application and reflection when preparing for the assessment. Assessment by portfolio has been shown to provide such an assessment environment (Tang & Biggs, 1 998; Tang, 1999), and hence is argued to be an appropriate assessment approach within a PBL curriculum. This paper discusses the results of a pilot study exploring the assessment preparation strategies adopted by students of a PBL curriculum of a tertiary professional course. The students were assessed by both traditional assessment method, objective test, and also by portfolio. Post assessment questionnaires were administered to explore how these students prepared for the different types of assessments. Implications to PBL will also be discussed. Copyright © 1999 Australian Problem Based Learning Network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1999 Bi-ennial PBL Conference Vol. 1
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Problem Based Learning Network
Pages206-217
ISBN (Print)0725910682, 9780725910686
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Citation

Tang, C., Lai, P., Arthur, D., & Leung S.F. (1999). How do students prepare for traditional and portfolio assessment in a problem-based learning curriculum? In J. Conway, & A. Williams (Eds.) Themes and Variations in PBL: Refereed proceedings of the 1999 Bi-ennial PBL Conference Vol. 1 (pp. 206-217). Australia: Australian Problem Based Learning Network.

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