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The Black Box of Tertiary Assessment: An Impending Revolution

by John Hattie
Tertiary Assessment & Higher Education Student Outcomes: Policy, Practice & Research ()


There has been a formative assessment revolution that has swept our compulsory schooling, and is about to descend on higher education. It has the potential to make major changes as to how assessment is undertaken, with more emphasis on “feedback from assessment” or “assessment for learning” (alongside the traditional “assessment of learning”), using assessment to improve and change what and how we teach. Students familiar with the power of this assessment model in high school (especially since the introduction of NCEA) will expect and demand different forms of feedback from assessment from their lecturers. At the same time, more international comparisons of universities will place pressure on universities to enhance their teaching and quality of assessment. This chapter reviews the multiple outcomes of higher education, the importance of alignment of curricula and assessment, outlines these newer models of assessment, reviews ‘What works best’ relating to teaching and learning in tertiary settings, and outlines the effects of newer assessment models for selecting higher education students.

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