Imaginative Assessment for Learning (AFL) in Post-Secondary: Exploring the Impact of Cognitive Tools on Students’ Learning, Engagement, and Demonstrations of Understanding

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Gillian Judson, Faculty of Education

Project team: Cecily Heras, research assistant

Timeframe: October 2019 to July 2020

Funding: $5000

Final report: View Gillian Judson's final report (PDF)

Description: We intend to collaborate with 5 professors from different SFU faculties other than Education, to design assessment for learning (AFL) tools that engage emotion and imagination through use of “cognitive tools”. Our aim is to improve the quality of teaching and student experience of assessment. The aim of designing these imaginative AFLs is to increase student engagement and, ultimately, to increase their investment in the assessment process, support their learning, and increase their effectiveness in expressing their understanding. The collaboration will occur through three workshops: (1) in the first workshop we will explore the assessment problem space and ways imaginative AFL might be used to meet those challenges in each of our classrooms; (2) between workshop 1 and 2, each faculty member will design a draft imaginative AFL tool to use in one of their courses; (3) in workshop 2 we will collaboratively engage in design of the imaginative AFL tools; (4) between workshop 2 and 3 each faculty member will implement their tool and then (5) in workshop 3 we will discuss our experiences using these assessment tools, their impact on students and our thoughts regarding refining them. In addition to collaborating with participants in designing an imaginative AFL tool, we will collect their reflections and students’ feedback on the impact of the tool for learning, and also specific examples of tool impact on student learning/performance (if possible, 1 example of student assessment work from each professor).

Questions addressed

  • To what extent and in what ways are imaginative AFL activities unique to each course and to what extent and in what ways can common structures and/or tools be adapted to particular courses?
  • How effective was the imaginative AFL tool for student engagement, and demonstration of learning?
  • What were students’ impressions of the imaginative AFL tool?

Knowledge sharing: I will share this work with colleagues in an inquiry group I belong to—our focus is AfL in higher education. I also plan to share the article (when possible) with the wider CIRCE community.

Keywords: assessment for learning, formative assessment, imagination, cognitive tools, engagement, imaginative assessment for learning, feedback, Imaginative Education