The development of undergraduate employability skills through authentic assessment in college-based higher education.
Keywords:employability-focused assessment design, problem-solving, authentic assessment, college-based higher education, employability skills
This paper explores how authentic assessment can be implemented to enhance opportunities to develop employability skills through problem-solving tasks. Based on the eight key tenets of authentic assessment (Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2014), this paper presents formative and summative assessment case studies which were created in partnership with external stakeholders on three separate degree programmes at an undergraduate college-based higher education provider. The case studies report on the development of employability skills through authentic learning design on courses ranging from level 4 to level 6 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The cases add weight to the argument for embedding employability within the curriculum wherein the core skills/intended outcomes are delivered as part of the taught curriculum rather than as paralleled approaches which aim to develop employability as an add-on. Each of the case studies are individually distinct, however they each share commonalities that collectively produce an effective framework for authentic assessment design. These key components include effective collaboration with external stakeholders (employers) from within the respective sectors, the joint formulation of a ‘problem’ that allows students to apply real world skillsets to overcome, and lastly the opportunity for external stakeholders to contribute towards feedback that students receive in respect to the assessment carried out. Learning developers in higher education should look to utilise the conclusions of this paper to inform learning design in their contexts.
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