Increasing student performance by changing the assessment practices within an academic writing unit in an Enabling Program
The production of high quality academic writing often represents a challenge for students in bridging courses. Often, students lack frequently assumed background skills and knowledge, and may have completed secondary school subjects where extended writing tasks were less common. At the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus, staff responded to concerns about student progress with academic writing within the Enabling Program. It was determined that a trial of scaffolded assessment may be of benefit to students in the acquisition of the necessary skills and knowledge. Scaffolded assessment intentionally breaks a single assessment task into sub-components and attempts to teach the students to replicate the same process on future tasks. Data tracking over three Semester 1 entry cohorts demonstrated the approach was of benefit in both the unit and the overall course when scaffolded assessment was utilised. The benefits and reservations regarding the use of scaffolded assessment are outlined.