Assessment in Outdoor Education

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Casson, Anne
Assessment , Outdoor Education , Authentic Assessment
This thesis reports on a qualitative study of the assessment practices in an outdoor education program at an independent school in Ontario. This thesis focuses on the experiences of students with assessment in the outdoor education context, including the range of assessment practices experienced by the students, the students’ perceptions of assessment, and the impacts of assessment on the students’ experiences in the outdoor education program. This study was conducted from October to December of 2008. Using a case study research design, data were collected through observations of class activities, interviews with teachers and students, and assessment documents and student journals. The study found that a wide range of assessment practices were used by the teachers in the study, with an emphasis on student-centered assessment practices such as self assessment, peer assessment, group debriefing, and authentic assessment. These assessment practices fostered a culture of assessment that students perceived to be fair and supportive of their learning. The findings of the study indicate that these types of assessments helped to create a community of learners within the classroom, encouraged the development of self-confidence among students, and promoted transfer of learning. The conclusions of the study suggest that the student-centered assessment practices used in this outdoor education program can provide a model for teachers aiming to develop a positive culture of assessment in their classrooms.
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