Existing assessment induction programmes and assessment literacy as co-determinants for developing an assessment induction programme for Midrand Graduate Institute
Pienaar, Maria Johanna
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Many lecturers at South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are not necessarily equipped for the challenges imposed on them. Some academic staff join HEIs as subject specific experts from industry and the corporate world and do not necessarily have education qualifications or experience in lecturing and assessing students. This research was prompted by the researcher’s observations that newly appointed academic staff at Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) are not formally inducted into their primary duties as lecturers encompassing general classroom practices related to teaching, learning and assessment. Academic staff at MGI have also reported specific concerns about their preparedness to utilize assessment effectively. As a result, there appeared to be a need to gather information which could inform the development of an assessment induction programme for MGI. By conducting a literature and an empirical study, existing assessment induction programmes and assessment literacy as co-determinants for developing an assessment induction programme for MGI were investigated. The literature study focused on the theoretical foundations of induction programmes, assessment and assessment literacy. For the empirical part of the study a mixed method, multiphase design was applied. By means of a document analysis the nature and scope of existing assessment induction programmes at purposively selected South African HEIs was examined. The quality of assessment literacy of academic staff at MGI was determined through questionnaires and interviews. A total number of 101 academic staff, representing various post levels, participated in the research. The key findings of the empirical study revealed that existing assessment induction programmes at South African HEIs are offered at times when academic staff are available and that the duration of such programmes differs significantly from institution to institution. It is expected that new and experienced staff must attend the programmes and although the programmes appear to be unique, they all share common content. In all cases, Staff Development Units are responsible for facilitating the assessment induction programmes. With regard to the assessment literacy of academic staff at MGI, it was determined that their assessment literacy is not compatible with the levels on which they lecture. This was revealed through the challenges they experienced when they were required to explain the assessment process, order the levels of Bloom’s taxonomy and match assessment concepts with appropriate explanations. It was further discovered that the respondents regarded induction programmes which are specifically aimed at academic elements such as lecturing responsibilities, classroom management and assessment as essential for their personal development. From the research findings the researcher developed a set of guidelines which are proposed for developing an assessment induction programme for MGI.
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