School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Innovating assessment in an Italian language course: first experiences
    Absalom, M (HERDSA, 1999)
    This paper examines a new academic's initial foray into the realms of innovative assessment. The paper begins by outlining the principle reasons for innovating the assessment scheme which include:- a desire to promote deep learning in students;- the necessity to have a more transparent connection between the aims and objectives of the course and assessment tasks;- the need to challenge the notion that language is easily compartmentalised into distinct skills - writing, reading, speaking, listening, metalinguistic. - implicitly conveyed by traditional assessment tasks. The unit in question was a full year ab initio Italian class. Students were cleanly divided into two camps: mature age and non-mature age with the former showing significant reservations in the face of non-traditional assessment methods. I discuss both the successes and failings of the new scheme from my perspective as well as from that of students. Notably, by the end of the unit, some of the students' initial responses to innovative assessment have been challenged in such a way as to have effected a change in thinking.