June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Cooperative & Experiential Education
15.83.1 - 15.83.9
A Review of the Assessment Literature on Cooperative Education in Higher Education Introduction
The purpose of this study is to review the assessment literature on cooperative education and related experiential learning experiences of college students to determine the extent to which authentic assessment and other related assessment methods are being used. Heywood19 stated “that assessment is a multidimensional process of judging the individual in action.” He favors the use of multiple strategies for assessment of academic knowledge and skills. He further quoted Alverno in 1994 as stating that assessment should be aligned with the type of learning: If learning is to be integrative/experiential, assessment must judge performance. If learning is to be characterized by self-awareness, assessment must include self-assessment as well as expected outcomes and developmental criteria that are public. If learning is to be active/interactive, assessment must include feedback and elements of externality as well as performance. If learning is to be developmental, assessment must be cumulative and expansive. Finally, if learning is to be transferable, assessment must be multiple in mode and context.
This suggests that in any cooperative education experience multiple modal and contextual assessment methods are needed to evaluate learning as well as learning transfer within and between academic knowledge and the skills developed in the work place. Moreover, Bradford et al6 reported “a solid research” finding:
To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must: (a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways to facilitate retrieval and application.
They further emphasized that “[a]ll new learning involves transfer based on previous learning,” but that this transfer of learning across knowledge domains is context dependent with learning in multiple contexts more promotive of transfer.
In regard to measuring or assessing learning and learning transfer, Bradford et al6 said that the “[m]easures of transfer play an important role in assessing the quality of people’s learning experiences” and therefore, differentiate surface learning from deep learning. Furthermore, Venables & Tan41 mentioned the need for assessment of a student in a work based learning experience to be within the appropriate context. They said that the “assessment tasks” and the “planned learning outcomes” should be aligned” and that
assessment should promote the development of problem-solving skills, personal development, and social skills within a community or industry focused setting. Tasks have to accurately reflect the workplace environment and encourage students to draw upon their formal learning and use it to interrogate the workplace practices. Assessment that that encourages broad capabilities rather than more narrow learning objectives should be employed by educators to ensure that students actually learn in work place.
Experiential learning is an inclusive phrase for many types of work based related learning experiences8, 13, 38 including cooperative education. The first cooperative education program in the United States of America dated back to 1906 at the University of Cincinnati9, 39. However, the idea of cooperative education seemed to have appeared in the United Kingdom as early as the
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