A framework for assessing work integrated learning

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Research and Development in Higher Education: The Student Experience Vol. 32

July, 2009, 715 pages
Published by
Helen Wozniak and Sonia Bartoluzzi
0 908557 78 7

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is a signature feature of study at RMIT University and takes many forms including industry projects, field work, internships and one year co-operative education programs. Student ‘work readiness’ is a strategic priority. This capability relies on successful WIL experiences that ideally integrate the advancement and application of academic knowledge and skills with personal and generic employability capabilities. Assessing the acquisition and application of these skills in a work-based learning situation is the challenge addressed in this paper. Traditional assessment practices are typically used to measure the understanding and application of academic knowledge disseminated within the confines of the higher education environment. As these tools are not always the most appropriate measure for assessing work-based learning, research was conducted to map emerging innovative tools and practices designed for use outside the classroom and educational institutions. Surveys were conducted to obtain information from all stakeholders (academics, students, industry representatives) to provide their perceptions of assessment task validity in terms of professional and generic skill development. A synthesis of the findings formed the basis of the Contextual, Capability driven, Action-based learning, Relationship and collaboration building, Developmental, Student Centred (CCARDS) assessment framework. Each phase of our investigation either reinforced previous findings or gave new insights into the complexities surrounding WIL assessment practices. This paper presents the CCARDS framework as a simple checklist to be used to improve the quality of WIL assessment resources.

Keywords: work integrated learning, work-based learning, assessment in the workplace

A framework for assessing work integrated learning

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Richardson, J., Kaider, F., Henschke, K. & Jackling, B.