Higher education students’ perceptions of effective assessment

Document Type

Journal Article


Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd


School of Education




Wren, J., Sparrow, H., Northcote, M., & Sharp, S. (2009), Higher education students' perceptions of effective assessment. The International Journal of Learning, 15(12), 11-22. Link to article available here.


This paper shares the voices of two cohorts of pre-service teachers responding to the assessment practices they have encountered in their pre-service teacher education course. It describes an action research project undertaken by a collaborative teaching team to explore a discrepancy revealed in a formal evaluation survey, between quite high levels of overall student satisfaction and lower levels of satisfaction with assessment practices. The paper shares insights into the students’ experience, understanding and judgment about assessment gained through self-directed student focus groups, written feedback and online discussions that help to articulate and explain students’ perspectives. The research seeks to contribute to improved understandings of students’ perceptions of assessment, in a way that supports decision-making about change that improves the experience, effectiveness and satisfaction with assessment processes for all stakeholders. This paper outlines an interesting practice-based model for collecting open and honest student evaluation of assessment and also raises some of the dilemmas faced by a team of reflective practitioners in responding effectively to students’ perspectives on assessment practices.