Educational Assessment in New Zealand: The Intersections of Three Perspectives

Showcase Presenters: Roohollah Kalatehjari & Samira Kakh

Traditionally assessments are designed to determine whether and to what extent students are learning. Such information plays several roles, it gives feedback to students about their competence in their fields of studies, it informs course facilitators of the quality of teaching and learning, and also turns into data that policymakers can use to evaluate programmes and predict whether their prospective graduates will acquire the learning required to build the graduate profile. Assessment research has investigated and confirmed the importance of assessments, instruction, syllabus, curriculum, and graduate profile outcomes alignment. 

In order to understand how students represent knowledge and explore the implication of cognitive development in learning for improving educational assessments, a research group was established. Members of this research group are from New Zealand University, ITP, and PTE sectors. Several focus group discussions took place to critically evaluate and analyse assessment goals and types and the nature of student accomplishments at different educational contexts. Then, a comparative investigation was done to determine whether the assessments used in three different educational contexts which designed to assist learning, measure learners’ achievement, and to evaluate programmes and courses make students’ thinking visible to themselves and their course facilitators and lectures. Such investigations also stimulated arguments on how educational contexts impose constraints on assessment design. 

Attendees at this showcase will hear of the results of those discussions and what students are learning, at very fine levels of detail, when educational assessments are presented as a facilitator of learning. Ways in which facilitators can produce valid and fair assessments that stimulate further thinking and productive uses of assessments will also be discussed. 

Dr Roohollah (Roo) Kalatehjari is a Lecturer and Director of the Geotechnical lab at AUT. He joined AUT in 2017 after successful completion of his two postdoctoral fellowships in Taiwan and Malaysia. Roo is currently the paper leader for the BE(Hons) Industrial Project, Geotechnical Engineering, and Foundation Engineering papers. Dr Samira Kakh is a lecturer and researcher in the fields of education, business, and management. She has taught communication, critical thinking, and sustainable practice and operations management in New Zealand and has presented extensively in international conferences. She has thought postgraduate courses in the areas of Research Methodology, Capabilities for Managers, international trade and English for Academic Purposes.