Using Exemplars to Communicate Criteria and Standards and Improve Students' Performance in Assessment

By David Newlyn and Liesel Spencer.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article reports and reflects on a three-stage, long-term research project into the use of exemplars, as a means to communicate criteria and standards and improve student performance in items of assessment. The study was conducted within a large interdisciplinary (service) law unit, taught across multiple campuses of a university by a large teaching staff, to a diverse student cohort drawn from many undergraduate degree programs. The first stage of the project was a quantitative survey of subjective student perceptions on the use of exemplars. The second stage of the project examined data on the objective impact of exemplars on student performance. The third stage of the project involved the provision of a vodcast, in addition to exemplars, to examine whether student performance was further improved. The time, skill and resources involved in the production of exemplars are considered, with practical recommendations for obtaining maximum return for the effort expended by teaching staff. The paper concludes with reflections on possible future applications of exemplars, in the broader context of university teaching.

Keywords: Exemplars, Criteria and Standards, University Education

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.37-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 497.901KB).

Dr. David Newlyn

Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW, Australia

Dr David Newlyn PhD, BEd(Hons) Wgong, LLB Syd is a Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Western Sydney. He has a long history of engagement within the field of education. He teaches and researches in the areas of Business Law, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Introduction to the Law and Legal Education.

Liesel Spencer

Associate Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia