Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Students Discussing and Assessing the Previous Year's Work
Originator Christine Rees
Department Department of Geography, University of Luton, Park Square, LU1 3JU
Tel. +44 (0)1582 478264
Fax. +44 (0)1582 478212
E-mail chris.rees@luton.ac.uk

I was initially prompted into considering different approaches during assessment of a module I was teaching for the first time. Many otherwise quite strong students were making elementary mistakes and using inappropriate methodologies, showing they had not been reflective enough of their own work.

The module in which I used this technique involved students producing a portfolio of maps exploring a particular thematic topic, hopefully in innovative ways. They were also to explore the effect on the reader of different techniques, in the interpretation they made of the maps. This is largely a student directed module.

Portfolios from the previous year were saved and copies made of them, erasing any of the assessor's comments. Students were organised in small groups, given a set of maps and a structured questionnaire which provided the framework for their discussion.

They had to make a list of all the things they thought were wrong, and all the design aspects they thought were good, or at least worthy of comment. They then had to comment on the appropriateness of the technique. If inappropriate they had to say why, and suggest alternative ways of portraying the data.

The session was successful in that the students discussed enthusiastically and found it thought provoking. Students were encouraged to justify their views, for example to say why it was a poor map rather than just 'its a poor map'.

I will extend use of students assessing anonimised student work in other modules, as it does seem to provide a good focus for discussion.

Keywords:

Assessment
Cartography
Discussion
Group work
Map design
Peer assessment
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