Authentic Team Assessments: Learning about Learning

Showcase Presenter: Carolyn Ward

The AUT Business School Strategy (2016 – 2020) has a strategic priority to equip graduates to thrive in uncertain futures. Through authentic practice-based learning we aim to mirror complex work environments. 

A core feature of authentic assessment is the need to facilitate student learning in a group or team context, as team working is a common workplace practice. To align teaching and learning to the Business School’s strategic goals, changes were made to the training and development paper (renamed learning and development) as part of the 2017- 2018 review. 

A key aspect of the paper is to help students to be ‘industry ready’ in the field of Human Resource Management. Two team assessments embedded on the paper embrace important authentic assessment principles and encourage play-based learning and reflection-in/on-action. Teams learn new skills in a pre- assessment team learning challenge and acquire a learning facilitator persona requiring student teams to train the class. These practical experiences help students make links to appropriate theories, models and concepts taught on the paper. This approach also helps scaffold learning experiences between the assessments. Feedback anecdotally and via Student Paper Experience Questionnaires suggest enhanced engagement with the tasks, increased understanding of foundational learning theories and the creation of a positive learning environment. 

Attendees at this showcase will gain experience on the application of play-based learning theory, a relatively underdeveloped learning theory applied to adult education. Practical ideas and examples of active learning strategies to consider in their own classroom. Ideas for creating authentic team-based assessments. 

Carolyn Ward is a Senior Lecturer in Business, Economics and Law and has worked in academia since 2004. Her interests lie in strategies to engage and motivate students to become active, reflective and critical learners. She takes a learn-by-doing mantra to her teaching. Central to her academic citizenship role is her continued involvement with the Ako Aronui programme where she mentors AUT employees and assesses fellowship applications.