Engaging students via student-unique Weekly Assessed Tutorial Sheets: A four year review
Following unacceptable examination performance in a core engineering module, (fluid mechanics and thermodynamics), an alternative and innovative approach to assessment was developed. The new approach centered on the use of student unique weekly assessed tutorial sheets (WATS). The emphasis on assessment arises because of (i) the overwhelming evidence that assessment plays a significant part in student learning - good assessment guides the studentspsila effort towards the intended learning outcomes and helps distribute their effort across both the curriculum topics and the semester, and (ii) the previous assessment programme did little to promote learning nor support teaching. This paper outlines the new development and presents findings from its use across four years. Since its implementation all performance indicators have improved. Students are now more actively engaged with the module, teachers are now provided with information on the studentspsila current (mis)-conceptions and examination scores have improved. Feedback from the students on the various features of the assessment programme is encouraging as is their feedback relating their perception of the assessment programme to scaffold their learning. Many students, however, still note the importance of grades, however, in driving their effort.