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Educators’ Experiences of Quality Assured Assessment in the Further Education Sector: Insights from a practice-based innovation, using ePortfolios for Assessment

Doherty, Rachael (2021) Educators’ Experiences of Quality Assured Assessment in the Further Education Sector: Insights from a practice-based innovation, using ePortfolios for Assessment. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Assessment can be used to provide a critical insight into an education system. As the Further Education (FE) sector undergoes a period of transformative change in Ireland, issues such as quality assurance (QA) and technological innovations in assessment have come to the fore. To understand the current assessment landscape, this study aimed to explore experiences of quality assured assessment in the FE sector from the perspective of assessors. Furthermore, the impact of a new ePortfolio system, designed to meet the needs of quality assured assessment in the 21st century was investigated. Through the lens of pragmatic inquiry, a sequential explanatory mixed methods design was employed, across two distinct phases. In phase one an intra-method survey was devised to determine the lived experience of assessors and to capture current trends in assessment practice. A focus group in phase two allowed for a deeper examination of these issues, while also specifically investigating the impact of the ePortfolio system. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics whereas qualitative results were explored using thematic analysis, allowing for rich, deep insights. Findings demonstrated that educators value quality and processes that promote it. However, differences emerged in how assessors felt about the approach to QA. Defensive QA experiences lead to administrative box-ticking, low assessor confidence and concerns regarding consistency of standards. In contrast, prospective QA experiences were found to be motivating and collaborative for educators, leading to improvements in practice. The use of technology supported assessment, with benefits including streamlining of processes. The ePortfolio was found to reduce administrative burden, support practices to improve consistency in standards and increase student autonomy. This research makes a valuable contribution to the academic discourse regarding quality in assessment and may inform the development of progressive assessment practice and policy in the sector, whilst enhancing the student experience.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education > Assessment
Divisions: Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning > Master of Arts in Educational Practice
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2022 15:18
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2022 15:18
URI: https://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5284

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