Assessing graduate attributes: Engaging academic staff and their students

Radloff, A, De La Harpe, B, Dalton, H, Thomas, J and Lawson, A 2008, 'Assessing graduate attributes: Engaging academic staff and their students', in Engaging Students in Assessment, Adelaide, Australia, 20-21 November, 2008.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Assessing graduate attributes: Engaging academic staff and their students
Author(s) Radloff, A
De La Harpe, B
Dalton, H
Thomas, J
Lawson, A
Year 2008
Conference name ATN Assessment Conference 2008
Conference location Adelaide, Australia
Conference dates 20-21 November, 2008
Proceedings title Engaging Students in Assessment
Publisher University of SA
Place of publication Adelaide, Australia
Abstract The expectation that graduates are able to demonstrate the attributes needed for learning, work, and life is shared by employers, the community and graduates alike. Universities have accepted and responded to this expectation by defining a list of desired graduate attributes, requiring that these are embedded in all university programs. This focus on teaching and assessing graduate attributes over the last decade has proven to be a major challenge for universities, since academic staff find changing their assessment practices one of the most confronting tasks they face. Thus, assessment of graduate attributes is proving to be an indicator for uncovering the challenges behind this work, namely academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes and learning and teaching. Assessment is proving to be the litmus test of what academic staff value as the outcomes of their teaching. In this paper, we draw on the literature to present an opinion piece that summarises the drivers for assessing graduate attributes, outlines progress to date, identifies and acknowledges the `elephant in the room¿, namely the role that academic staff beliefs about graduate attributes play in their approach to teaching and assessing these, and considers the impact of these beliefs on staff engagement in an informed and pedagogically sophisticated way in assessing graduate attributes. Only when the custodians of the curriculum, namely academic staff, engage deeply in this work can they ensure the engagement of their students in developing the attributes they need, to be what they want to be.
Subjects Education Assessment and Evaluation
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