Assessing & Developing Academic Literacy in 1st Year Health Undergraduates

Dr Sandra Sacre, Prof Robyn Nash, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Looking at academic literacy specifically writing, used a diagnostic test, followed up with students on how they found it.

Many students overestimate the level of their skills. Diagnostic tests need to be related to the disciplines.

Learning Commons at HK Institute of Education

Used a tool from University of Sydney (MASUS) which can be formative but made it summative otherwise students did not do it. Literature demonstrates that performance in this test is an accurate indicator of progression.

Ran the test in week 1 of the semester, then tutorials in weeks 2 and 3. Given a detailed assessment sheet and asked markers not to write lots of comments so could send it back quickly. Did run training sessions with staff as well as a moderation meeting.  Will use data on student pass rates to motivate students the next year. Students who did not do test or attend workshop generally failed. Amended assessment and tasks in following year based on feedback from students.

Follow up analysis demonstrated that MASUS was a good predictor of results for essays.

Although offered a lot more support for students, can’t make students attend sessions or make them engage. Changes made in second year have been beneficial in engaging students and enabling them to understand testing process more fully but still some issues with engagement as some students do not see relevance or think they need it.

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