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Supporting and Enabling Learners Through Assessment

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Welcome to the final instalment in our series on Higher Education and Academic Integrity. Robin Flynn, Quality, Enhancement and Registrations Manager, is here to expand on the topic. He outlines ways to support and enable learners through assessment without relying on artificial intelligence. You can read the previous two instalments of the series: Academic Integrity in an Age of Generative AI and A Community of Practice on Academic Integrity.

We have talked about the challenges of generative AI to academic integrity and developments in the College as a response. Are there any benefits of generative AI to academic integrity? 

Every time there is a development in technology, there is a period of unrest and uncertainty. Consider the advances in online libraries and scholarly search engines, or the move to open-access literature. There is certainly potential in generative AI but a cautious and considered approach is necessary. 

Why not use generative AI to directly respond to an assessment? 

Good assessment is about enabling engagement with learning and demonstrations of attainment, not just passing. By ‘outsourcing’ the response to an assessment, students are also outsourcing the benefits. But the onus is not only on the student. 

The real challenge is to develop assessments that do not facilitate this outsourcing of learning. Assessment designers must ask themselves, ‘Does the student demonstrate their process of learning and understanding rather than just providing the end product?’ 

What does a good assessment look like? 

There isn’t a specific template for good assessment; in fact, diversity of assessment is key. However, there are some common traits of good assessments. Assessments should challenge the learner to reflect, analyse and respond. They should give the students ample opportunities to be creative and to link learning to their own experiences. Fundamentally, an assessment should be well supported. 

How is assessment well supported? 

The provision of good rubrics, clear instructions and good support materials is integral to assessment. Learners should have an opportunity to discuss the assessment and ask questions, particularly any questions they may have around AI. 

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