Improving assessment accountability in initial teacher education programs through benchmarking
Benchmarking: An International Journal
School of Education
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: In Australia, political imperatives that drive the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) call for a new understanding of assessment at the tertiary level. Assessment strategies are under the microscope to provide accountability but are increasingly called to measure a wider set of attributes considered important in equipping graduates to meet 21st century opportunities and challenges. This paper reports on a shared benchmarking exercise between two universities to ensure the current assessment strategies in their undergraduate early childhood programs meet such requirements. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected using qualitative methodology and conceptualised using an interpretivist frame that enabled the collaborative groups to socially construct the meaning of assessment and identify what was specific, unique and different across the two programs. A cross-case analysis enabled a robust examination of the data. Findings: Findings identified key structural and procedural differences between the two benchmarked university programs in terms of cohort size, university policies around assessment points, the use of exams and the choices surrounding professional experience placements. Practical implications: Implications of the research note the complexity of contextual factors such as university policies on assessment and the impact these have on the quality of assessment. Originality/value: This paper is unique in that it used the conceptual framework for self-evaluation from TEQSA and followed their six key phases of benchmarking.