HE teachers’ learning about assessment: engaging with formal and informal learning opportunities

Nicola Reimann, Angelina Wilson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The study contributes to our current understanding of higher education (HE) teachers' learning about assessment, of the relationship between conceptual change and assessment practice and of the impact of informal versus formal, taught learning opportunities. There is a considerable body of research about the learning of HE teachers and their conceptions of teaching. However, while the importance of informal learning in the academic workplace has been highlighted, little is known about the influences which stimulate conceptual change and changes within actual teaching practice. There is also conflicting evidence about the role and impact of courses and other formal, intentional professional development activities. With the exception of Shannon et al (2008), few researchers have investigated the nature and processes of HE teachers' learning about assessment. The qualitative study discussed in this paper intends to address this gap in our knowledge and is part of a larger multi-site case study investigating the impact of different assessment for learning approaches in one UK university. It draws on data collected within a learning and teaching centre whose explicit aim is to engage HE staff with assessment for learning approaches through an 'associateship' scheme. The scheme intends to support informal learning in the workplace as well as providing formal learning opportunities. For this study semi-structured interviews are conducted with eight individual associates and eight associate teams; data collection is currently in progress. Findings from this set of interviews is contrasted with questionnaire and interview data collected from novice and established HE teachers who participated in two different taught courses about assessment. Initial findings suggest that one function of the various formal and informal learning opportunities investigated in this study is that they create opportunities for dialogue about assessment, while assessment is otherwise rarely discussed in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2009
EventEuropean Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Conference - Amsterdam
Duration: 25 Aug 2009 → …


ConferenceEuropean Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Conference
Period25/08/09 → …


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