The International Conference: Assessment for Learning in Higher Education 2015 was held on the 13th to the 15th of May 2015 by the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). With the aim of sharing experiences, research, and practice in assessment and feedback in higher education, the Conference attracted educational practitioners, researchers, experts, and academics from around the world and successfully served as an international platform for dialogue on various teaching and learning-related themes.
Over 300 attendees came to the Conference, and more than half of this participation was from overseas: Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, China, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Israel, South Africa, Chile, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium, Finland, and the Netherlands. We received an overwhelming number of abstract submissions and there were over 100 oral presentations and 40 poster presentations over the three-day event, confirming the worldwide interest in teaching and learning in higher education and the timeliness and relevance of this conference.
On the 13th of May 2015, three pre-conference workshops were conducted by CETL academic staff together with overseas educational experts. Professor Grahame Bilbow, Director of CETL, and Professor Dai Hounsell, Former Vice-Principal of University of Edinburgh, presented on a community of practice project ‘Wise assessment: Towards a community of practice’. Dr. Cecilia K.Y. Chan, Conference Chairperson and the Head of Professional Development at CETL, and Professor Michael Prosser, Honorary Professor of CETL, conducted a workshop entitled ‘Evidence of student learning outcomes – Why and how?’. Finally, Dr. Susan Bridges, Associate Professor of CETL and Assistant Dean for the Faculty of Education, Dr. Michael Botelho, Clinical Associate Professor of Dentistry, and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Director of Learning Sciences Institute Australia (LSIA) at Australian Catholic University, conducted a workshop entitled ‘Criteria, standards and judgment practices in assessing performance-based tasks in higher education: Opportunities from professional programmes’. These workshops were followed by a Welcome Reception hosted by the Conference Committee.
Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, delivered the welcome speech for the opening ceremony of the Conference on the 14th of May 2015, and he reiterated the importance of assessment and feedback as well as the University’s commitment to teaching and learning. Professor Grahame Bilbow delivered a warm welcome to participants on behalf of CETL.
The two-day conference focussed on the following sub-themes within the broad framework of assessment for learning in higher education:
- Innovative Assessment Approaches
- Students’ Responses to Assessment
- Assessment and Feedback
- Institutional Initiatives in Assessment
- Assessing Professional Competencies
Professor John Biggs, former Professor of Education at HKU, Professor Royce Sadler, University of Queensland, Professor David Boud, University of Technology, Sydney, and Professor David Carless & Professor Rick Glofcheski, HKU were invited as keynote speakers to share their expertise on the main theme of the Conference, ‘Assessment for Learning’. The topics of their keynote speeches were, respectively:
- Assessment in a constructively aligned system, John Biggs
- Improving learning by improving what is assessed: Students as goal chasers, Royce Sadler
- What are we assessing for? Does conventional assessment undermine learning outcomes?, David Boud
- Assessment for student learning in law and beyond, David Carless & Rick Glofcheski
The Conference Committee has received very positive feedback from conference participants, including expressions of interest in follow-up activities, and possibly another conference exploring other issues in assessment and learning in higher education.
This event was funded largely by the financial award provided by the Hong Kong University Grants Committee to Professor Rick Glofcheski, Professor of Law at HKU, on the occasion of his being named inaugural winner of the University Grants Committee Teaching Award.
For photographs of the Conference, please see Gallery.
Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Hong Kong, June 2015