Transformative Effects of Learning & Assessment-Focused Educational Development

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Fostaty Young, C. Susan
Educational Development , Assessment , Higher Education , Transformative Learning
This heuristic inquiry outlines the chronology of my own theory-building, developing awareness and understanding of my educational development practice; I define my practice as learning&assessment-focused educational development. The inquiry maps the ways in which my early doctoral work shaped both my thinking and my practice as an educational developer eventually leading me to undertake a collaborative empirical study with the post-secondary teachers with whom I work. The purpose of the qualitative study we undertook together was to better understand how learning&assessment-focused educational development might facilitate transformative professional learning. Sixteen college and university faculty members with whom I had engaged in learning&assessment-focused educational development, and who were familiar with the ICE (Ideas, Connections and Extensions) model of learning and assessment (Wilson, 1996; Fostaty Young & Wilson, 2000), collaborated with me as part of my heuristic inquiry. The study of our lived experience of learning&assessment-focused educational development became the next logical step of the investigation of practice that I had already begun to question and to write about. Together we set out to identify and name the instructional content, processes, approaches and relationships that supported significant professional learning. Findings indicated that the adoption of a framework, preferably one that is congruent with teachers’ emerging conceptions of teaching and learning, helps post-secondary teachers’ organize their thinking about learning and enables improved communication about their expectations for students’ learning. The collaboration led to the identification of six essential characteristic features of learning&assessment-focused educational development. Overall, this research contributes to the evidence-based literature on effective educational development practice and to the discussion on the scholarship of educational development research and on the scholarship of teaching in general.
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