Experts from UIII and Deakin University Share Practices for Assessing Diverse Students

September 04, 2023

Contributor: Maroof Ahmed | Editor: Supriyono

The Faculty of Education (FoE) of Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII), in partnership with Deakin University, Australia, orchestrated an online joint lecture on September 4, 2023, that brought together two esteemed speakers, namely Dr. Bahrul Hayat, Vice Rector for Academic, Student Affairs and Human Resources at UIII, and Dr. Joanna Tai, Senior Research Fellow at Deakin University.

Part of the UIII-Deakin Joint Lecture Series 2023, the event served as a platform for the sharing of thoughts concerning non-cognitive assessment in education and inclusive assessment in higher education. Both speakers, drawing from their extensive research, emphasized the need for a holistic approach to assessment that recognizes and values the diverse attributes and backgrounds of students.

Dr. Bahrul Hayat began his lecture by emphasizing the importance of non-cognitive attributes and skills in education. He cited various research findings that underscore the significant contribution of non-cognitive attributes and skills toward student success. These attributes and skills not only promote academic achievement but also lay the foundation for life success.

He elaborated on the vast array of non-cognitive constructs, ranging from tenacity, collegiality, and enthusiasm to motivation, conscientiousness, and adaptability. Dr. Hayat also highlighted the challenges in assessing these non-cognitive attributes, such as the potential for faking, subjectivity, and the complexities of the assessment instruments. However, he proposed potential approaches like the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) and Classroom Response Systems ("Clickers") as effective methods for non-cognitive assessment in education.

"Non-cognitive is a popular term found in the literature and is one of the many terms used in lieu of social and emotional learning (SEL). In education, non-cognitive encompasses attitude, behavior, skills, and strategies that powerfully affect students’ academic performance but are not components of the core content area knowledge and skills taught to students," said Dr. Bahrul Hayat.

Switching gears to Dr. Joanna Tai's segment, she provided an overview of the Australian context for inclusive assessment within higher education. Dr. Tai emphasized the increasing diversity in student demographics and the importance of designing assessments that are inclusive of all students.

She shared her research findings on student experiences of inclusive assessment, in which students highlighted the importance of clear and consistent instructions, meaningful assessment tasks, flexible due dates, and opportunities for formative feedback. Dr. Tai also discussed the challenges in changing assessment practices, including staff attitudes, university policies, and resource constraints.

"Assessment should recognize diversity in student learning and endeavor to ensure that no student is discriminated against by virtue of features other than their ability to meet appropriate standards," said Dr. Joanna Tai.

The collaboration between UIII and Deakin University in organizing this lecture is a testament to the importance of international academic exchanges in fostering understanding and promoting best practices in education. As the world of education continues to evolve, such discussions pave the way for more inclusive and effective teaching and assessment methodologies.