Garside, Joanne, Nhemachena, Jean Z. Z., Williams, Julie and Topping, Annie (2009) Repositioning assessment: Giving students the ‘choice’ of assessment methods. Nurse Education in Practice, 9 (2). pp. 141-148. ISSN 1471-5953

Assessment is a feature of all academic courses undertaken for award in the United Kingdom (UK). The nature of the strategies that can be used to assess learning vary a great deal from the traditional unseen examination to more student-centered innovative approaches. A review of a pre-registration nursing curriculum in preparation for re-approval by the University and Nurse Midwifery Council (NMC) provided an opportunity to re-appraise existing assessment strategies. Concurrently a parallel review process was underway with a postgraduate continuing professional development (CPD) programme for registered nurses. Recognising that students have individual strengths, weaknesses, learning styles and preferences concerning mode of assessment, offering choice of assessment was proposed as a strategy for inculcating the values of student centeredness and responsibility for learning. Although recommended in the literature (Race et al., 2005 and Cowan, J., 2006. On Becoming an Innovative University Teacher: Reflection in Action. University Press, Open Maidenhead.) no empirical evidence of benefit in support of this initiative was identified.

This paper presents an account of the journey taken by the project team from original idea, navigation of the quality assurance processes associated with curriculum approval to delivery of choice of assessment on two modules embedded in an undergraduate pre-registration and post-registration CPD programmes, and an evaluation undertaken with the students. Offering students choice of assessment appears to be well received and this approach has subsequently been adopted as a feature of other health and social care professional programmes offered in the institution

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