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12 JULY 2015

Longitudinal and ipsative assessment

"Ipsative assessment and feedback (assessment and feedback based on comparison with previous performance) describes an approach to assessment that focuses on improvement against past performance rather than grading against set criteria. Commonly used in performance-related disciplines such as music or sport, ipsative assessment enables credit to be given for improvement regardless of achievement (Hughes, Okumoto and Crawford, 2010). Ipsative feedback in turn makes comments on how far the student has travelled from a previous level of performance, which is both more motivational for non-traditional learners and more likely to promote self-regulation in all students.

In a wide range of assessment scenarios, from professional practice (medicine for example) to distance learning, ipsative assessment and feedback could reduce the need for testing and retesting of skills. Instead of 'learning for the test', a process of continuous monitoring and self-regulation could make the acquisition of professional or vocational competences more authentic, rewarding and genuine, and enable tutors to devote more time and effort to mentoring."

(Marianne Sheppard and Ros Smith,



assessment for learning • assessment scenarios • assessment techniquescomparison with previous performancecontinuous monitoring • continuous personal development • diagnostic assessment • Gwyneth Hugheshow far the student has travelledimprovement against past performanceipsative assessment • ipsative assessment and feedback • ipsative feedback • JISC Design Studio • Kaori Okumoto • knowledge and skills acquisition • learning and successlearning engagement • learning for the test • level of performance • Likert scale • longitudinal learning datamaking processmeasuring individual performancemeasuring instrument • Megan Crawford • motivational needs • non-traditional learners • performance-related disciplines • personal achievementpersonal bestpersonal improvement • professional competences • professional practicequality of achievementrunning score • self-regulation • student achievementstudent performance • vocational competences


Simon Perkins
19 NOVEMBER 2012

Using Individual Weighting Factor to fairly recognise and compensate individual contributions to group work

"The modified pool of marks technique will not, however, overcome a fundamental weakness of the procedure, namely that the students have to allocate a fixed pool of marks or points. This can be difficult to do using whole numbers. For example, if eight marks are to be allocated between four people and one is given four of them it is not possible to give all the rest the same mark. An alternative technique is to allow the students to allocate marks freely and then calculate an individual weighting factor based on the ratio between the individual score and the average score for all members of the group. This has the advantage of avoiding putting students in the situation where for every additional mark they give to one individual they have to take a mark off another individual. Indeed this is confirmed where a scale of marks is used and students are unconstrained in the marks that they can allocate. In this situation they show a reluctance to make much use of the lower end of the scale and consequently the mean score is well above the middle (average) point of the scale (Conway et al, 1993). Next year, in addition to using the modified pool of marks technique, a variant on the technique used by Conway et al (1993) will also be employed (Appendix 3). This technique awards the group mark to a student who makes an average contribution. Those who make greater (or lesser) contributions receive more (or less) than the original group mark. The method of calculation is described in Appendix 4."

(Mick Healey, 1993, p.4)

Mick Healey "Developing Student Capability Using Peer and Self Assessment: A Preliminary Evaluation of The Distribution of a Pool of Marks Technique for Assessing The Contribution of Individuals to a Group Project", Using Assessment to Develop Capability conference, 1993.


1993accountabilityassessment criteriaassessment for learningassessment techniques • Atara Sivan • contribution to the group • David Kember • fairnessgrading schemegroup work • Higher Education for Capability (HEC) • individual accountability • individual contribution • Individual Weighting Factor • learning and teaching • May Wu • measurementmeasuring individual performancemeasuring instrument • Mick Healey • modified pool of marks technique • peer assessment • peer evaluationpeer learningproject work • Robert Conway • student performance


Simon Perkins
12 MARCH 2011

Scientists revise their criteria of rationality as they enter new domains

"The conventional model of science, technology and society locates sources of violence in politics and ethics, that is, in the application of science and technology, not in scientific knowledge itself.

The fact–value dichotomy is a creation of modern, reductionist science which, while being an epistemic response to a particular set of values, claims to be independent of values. According to the received view, modern science is the discovery of the properties of nature in accordance with a 'scientific method' which generates 'objective', 'neutral', 'universal' knowledge. This view of modern science as a description of reality as it is, unprejudiced by value, can be rejected on at least four grounds.

All knowledge, including modern scientific knowledge, is built through the use of a plurality of methodologies. As Feyerabend observes:

There is no 'scientific method'; there is no single procedure, or set of rules that underlines every piece of research and guarantees that it is 'scientific' and, therefore, trustworthy. The idea of a universal and stable method that is an unchanging measure of adequacy and even the idea of a universal and stable rationality is as unrealistic as the idea of a universal and stable measuring instrument that measures any magnitude, no matter what the circumstances. Scientists revise their standards, their procedures, their criteria of rationality as they move along and perhaps entirely replace their theories and their instruments as they move along and enter new domains of research (Feyerband, 1978, p. 98).

The view that science is just a discovery of facts about nature does not get support from philosophy either. If scientific knowledge is assumed to give true, factual knowledge of 'reality as it is', then we would have to 'conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theories became the truth' (Bohm, 1981, p. 4)."

(Vandana Shiva, 1990)

1). Shiva, V. (1990). 'Reductionist science as epistemological violence'. 'Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity'. A. Nandy, Oxford University Press: 314.

Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society (London: New Left Books, 1978).

David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).


analytical thinkingCartesiancultural valuesdescription of realitydiscoursediscoverydiscursive fieldepistemologyethicsfactual knowledgehierarchy of legitimacyIsaac Newtonknowledge • logical-analytical • logical-analytical paradigmmeasuring instrument • model of science • Modernmodern science • modern scientific knowledge • myth of neutralityobjectiveobjective reality • Paul Feyerband • plurality of methodologies • positivismproperties of naturerationalityreductionism • reductionist science • researchresearch methodsciencescientific knowledgescientific method • scientific options • sociology • stable knowledge • stable rationality • theorytraditiontrust • trustworthy • truthuniversal • universal knowledge • universal methoduniversal rationalityVandana Shiva


Simon Perkins

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