‘An investigation into the use of rubric-based self-assessment and written feedback as an effective teaching tool for the enhancement of student learning in the practical element of a food science degree module’.
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This action research took place over ten weeks of laboratory practical work within a Food Microbiology module at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). The customary method of assessing laboratory practical work is to mark the student’s laboratory report after each laboratory practical without a transparent marking scheme. The purpose of this research is to investigate if the implementation of a criteria based marking scheme, in the form of a rubric, together with student self-assessment and lecturer feedback, is an effective teaching tool for the enhancement of student learning in the practical element of a Level 7, Food Science degree module. A mixed methods approach was used in this research. Literature themes researched included, rubric-assessment, self-assessment, feedback and assessing laboratory practicals. Data collection methods used included student rubric-based self-assessment sheets, assessment feedback sheets from the lecturer, fourteen questionnaires and three semi structured interviews. Student self-assessment marks were compared with those from the lecturer to plot changes over time. The findings suggest that by repeated use of the rubric, students’ judgements of their marks do converge with the lecturer’s marks. However, the overestimating of marks by students with respect to their achieved laboratory practical marks is remarkable. A significant correlation was found between continuous use of the self-assessment rubric and the marks achieved for their laboratory practical write-up. In future, these findings may be enhanced by supporting the student more rigorously during the self-assessment process with examplars and training in the use of rubrics, self-assessment and feedback. In addition, self-assessment rubrics supported with written lecturer feedback should be considered as an assessment strategy for laboratory based subjects by LYIT.
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