Constructive alignment and the Research Skills Development Framework

Using theory to practically align graduate attributes, learning experiences, and assessment tasks in undergraduate midwifery.

Lynette Pretorius, Carolyn Bailey, Maureen Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Midwifery educators have to provide students with stimulating curricula that teach academic and vocational content, as well as transferable skills. The Research Skills Development (RSD) framework provides a conceptual model that allows educators to explicitly scaffold the development of their students’ research skills. This paper aims to demonstrate the effective use of the RSD framework and constructive alignment theory to redesign a second-year Midwifery assessment task.The assessment task was changed into a scenario-based question to better reflect the unit learning objectives and expected graduate attributes. Students were provided with extra time in class to explore the assessment task in a peer environment. Following the return of their assessments,students were asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment redesign. We show that using a constructively aligned scenario-based assessment task in a second year unit more successfully articulated the expected graduate attributes of midwives. Qualitative and quantitative feedback suggested that students and staff appreciated a more clinically-relevant assessment task. This paper demonstrates that the use of the RSD framework to constructively align graduate attributes, learning experiences, and assessment tasks allows for the transformation of undergraduate assessment into a learning experience relevant to clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-387
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Volume25
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this

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title = "Constructive alignment and the Research Skills Development Framework: Using theory to practically align graduate attributes, learning experiences, and assessment tasks in undergraduate midwifery.",
abstract = "Midwifery educators have to provide students with stimulating curricula that teach academic and vocational content, as well as transferable skills. The Research Skills Development (RSD) framework provides a conceptual model that allows educators to explicitly scaffold the development of their students’ research skills. This paper aims to demonstrate the effective use of the RSD framework and constructive alignment theory to redesign a second-year Midwifery assessment task.The assessment task was changed into a scenario-based question to better reflect the unit learning objectives and expected graduate attributes. Students were provided with extra time in class to explore the assessment task in a peer environment. Following the return of their assessments,students were asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment redesign. We show that using a constructively aligned scenario-based assessment task in a second year unit more successfully articulated the expected graduate attributes of midwives. Qualitative and quantitative feedback suggested that students and staff appreciated a more clinically-relevant assessment task. This paper demonstrates that the use of the RSD framework to constructively align graduate attributes, learning experiences, and assessment tasks allows for the transformation of undergraduate assessment into a learning experience relevant to clinical practice.",
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AB - Midwifery educators have to provide students with stimulating curricula that teach academic and vocational content, as well as transferable skills. The Research Skills Development (RSD) framework provides a conceptual model that allows educators to explicitly scaffold the development of their students’ research skills. This paper aims to demonstrate the effective use of the RSD framework and constructive alignment theory to redesign a second-year Midwifery assessment task.The assessment task was changed into a scenario-based question to better reflect the unit learning objectives and expected graduate attributes. Students were provided with extra time in class to explore the assessment task in a peer environment. Following the return of their assessments,students were asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment redesign. We show that using a constructively aligned scenario-based assessment task in a second year unit more successfully articulated the expected graduate attributes of midwives. Qualitative and quantitative feedback suggested that students and staff appreciated a more clinically-relevant assessment task. This paper demonstrates that the use of the RSD framework to constructively align graduate attributes, learning experiences, and assessment tasks allows for the transformation of undergraduate assessment into a learning experience relevant to clinical practice.

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