Practitioner Research in Higher Education, Vol 6, No 2 (2012)

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Designing assessment for autonomous learning

Marie Hay, Lucy Mathers


This article aims to disseminate and evaluate an autonomous learning framework developed through collaborative research with level 4 and 5 undergraduate students at De Montfort University. Central to the framework is the involvement of students in the assessment of their peers and themselves using dialogue about the assessment and feedback of embodied and ephemeral outputs.


The research is practice-based and includes the evaluation of published literature concerned with self and peer assessment; action learning and research; and interpretation as it is considered in phenomenological hermeneutics.


The autonomous learning framework addresses the issue of student dependence on the tutor for feedback on embodied and ephemeral assessment outputs and develops students’ understanding of assessment criteria and mark descriptors. Integral to the autonomous learning framework is the development of reflexive and meta-cognitive learning and emotional intelligence. This is achieved through the incorporation and combination of self-assessment; learning sets; tutor assessment and feedback; video; and dialogue.


The paper concludes with an evaluation of assessment design in relation to the promotion of autonomous learning.

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ISSN 1755-1382