Innovative group-facilitated peer and educator assessment of nursing students' group presentations
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Journal: Health Science Journal
Background: Recently changes in undergraduate assessment and of student nurses in particular have reflected changes within higher education more generally, including innovations such as group work and group presentations. However, assessing group presentations is inimically difficult due to 'free-riding', mark-clustering and student group composition. Method and materials: (1) A literature review was undertaken drawing on: Australian Education Index, British Education Index, the British Humanities Index, the British Nursing Index, EBSCOHOST EJS and Google™ Scholar; (2) educator-determined groupings of second year undergraduate children's nursing students participating in educator- and peer-assessed group presentations, by academic ability, were introduced; (3) a three stage process to evaluate the innovative assessment intervention and its effectiveness was adopted through: (i) informal in-course student group discussion, (ii) completion of a post-assessment structured student questionnaire and (iii) further informal discussion with students on completion of the unit of study. Results: Students highly regarded educator-formulated groupings because they (1) were seen as fair, (2) removed 'difficult' decisions, (3) offered the 'novelty' of student contracts and (4) were highly valued as a learning experience. The evaluation also identified that a limited range of marks were awarded by educators and students alike to participating groups. An anticipated wider distribution of marks did not occur. Furthermore, the effects of efforts to minimise 'free-riding' of students who made limited contributions to presentation preparations were limited. Conclusion: Evidence-based assessment strategies to determine undergraduate learning through group presentations results in continued challenges for nurse educators and for higher education in health more generally.