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The Challenge of Assessing Students’Professional Development  Achievement

Page history last edited by SCEPTrE 10 years ago

Invitation Seminar SCEPTrE 01/AC02 Thursday March 17th  13.00-16.00

The seminar/workshop will be streamed live from this page from 12.45


The Challenge of Assessing Students’ Professional Development & Achievement

The purpose of this event will be to consider the nature of the challenges drawing on: 1) a synthesis evidence-based paper produced by Professor Mantz Yorke 2) views and experiences of the tutors involved in assessing the achievements of students while they are on their work placements  and 3) the results of a mapping exercise, under taken by Dr Jenny Willis, aimed at identifying across the university the focus for assessing the complex learning and achievements emerging through work placement experiences.





13.00     Professor Mantz Yorke Assessing the Complexity of Professional Achievement

Background paper


Powerpoint slides




 14.00     Facilitated Practitioner Discussion – challenges of evaluating and assessing professional capability and development


14.30     Tea and Cakes


14.45     Dr Jenny Willis What are the outcomes of the professional training experience?

Summary paper 


Powerpoint slides


 Finish no later than 16.00



Assessing the Complexity of Professional Achievement

Professor Mantz Yorke

The development of professionalism is nurtured in a variety of contexts ranging from formal educational programmes to workplace experiences.  This variety contributes to the complexity of assessing professional achievements.  There is pressure in some quarters for aspects of professional capability to be codified and standardised, but the unpredictability of many situations facing professionals renders tight assessment specifications problematic.  Summative assessments of professional achievement have to be responsive, rather than prescriptive: the distinction can be related to relativist and realist world-views, respectively.  In addition, and at a distinctly pragmatic level, resource constraints impinge on the role of assessment in warranting professional capabilities. The seminar will discuss these issues and go on to suggest that, as far as higher education is concerned, there is a strong case for a ‘paradigm shift’ in respect of assessment practice.


What are the outcomes of the professional training experience?

Dr Jenny Willis

‘Can we really assess professionalism?’ ‘What is professionalism?’ ‘Defining professionalism.’‘Professional intelligence.’ ‘Assessing WIL’. ‘Conceptualisng professional capability.’ ’In search of professionalism.’  ‘How we develop professional capability through the undergraduate curriculum. ‘Learning to become a creative professional.’

Looking back on these examples of articles and presentations I have written over the last few years, there is an indisputable change in tone: where once hesitant and tentative, a more confident voice rings through.  We have, indeed, come a long way since my 2004 pre-USEM conceptualisation of the outcomes of Surrey’s renowned professional training scheme.  Building on York and Knight’s model, subsequent research for SCEPTrE confirmed Eraut’s learning trajectories and harnessed them to produce templates for monitoring professional development and informing curriculum design.  This was followed by the most challenging project of all: a curriculum-wide examination of professional competence at the University of Surrey, its meaning, how institutional policies are implemented by departments to achieve it, how and which professional capabilities are assessed.  This seminar will present key findings from the research which encourage us to believe that a change of paradigm is happening, and that relativism is replacing realism in the practice of evaluating and assessing students’ professional achievements.  


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