Interactions > Resistance or engagement

Changing assessment is important for many reasons, but change can often bring resistance. At times academics don’t give sufficient emphasis to the perspective of colleagues and learners. There are many different ways of understanding these views. There are formal feedback mechanisms, such as teaching evaluations or education committee reviews. There are more frequent but less formal types of feedback, such as a Head of Department’s enthusiastic endorsement of an approach or students ‘voting with their feet’. Thinking about these issues in advance may assist with overcoming resistance and harnessing enthusiasm, particularly if you are intending to innovate.

Assessment considerations:

  • Whose support is critical for an assessment process to succeed?
  • How can you ensure that you have that support and how long might this take?
  • If you are considering cross-program assessment (interdisciplinary) how will you manage the multiple stakeholders?
  • How does an assessment process affect learners and/or colleagues?
  • What may learners and/or colleagues see as benefits?
  • What may learners and/or colleagues see as drawbacks or negative outcomes for themselves?
  • What processes can you put in place to engage with learners and colleagues over timeline of the unit?
  • How you will be able to evaluate the impact of the assessment on learners and subsequently adapt processes as required?

Also refer to:

Context > Characteristics of enrolled students

Context > Institutional assessment principles and policies

Context > Departmental, disciplinary and personal conventions

Tasks > Rationale

Educator experiences

Engaging students

Sometimes if I make a change I have to pitch it to the students. I explain why we’re doing things. I explain what the outcome is that we are hoping to get, and why we want to test them in the way that we test them. – Languages lecturer

Building innovation over time

There was quite a bit of push back, especially the first semester. With teaching innovations, we found, it takes about three semesters to really bed it in. And part of that is me working at getting better and better at scaffolding or framing, marketing, selling to the students why this is a really good learning opportunity for you. And also, partly it takes that long for the grapevine to say, “You got that crazy woman … Yeah. This is what you can expect in that subject.” – Engineering lecturer

Collecting evidence

Often I’d think to myself that “you might be pushing things too far.” … What I’ll tend to do is evaluate it. And often do a study around it, and build up the evidence to actually test the waters and say, “Well, are the students gonna like this, or not?” – Health Professions lecturer

Strategic engagement of colleagues

I developed the documents and then I had to submit those for approval through the course committee. But what I did was I kept the head of that committee, the head of Teaching and Learning, up-to-date all the time. So I would meet the teachers and I’d say, “Look, this is kind of where I’m at.” And when I got to the end of the process, I said, “Well, look, this is what I’ve got. I want to now change the subject outline and see whether I can get approval.” But I went into that last part of the project knowing that I would get approval because I’d been talking about it. – Engineering lecturer