#LTHEchat 172: (How) Does assessment motivate students? with guest hosts Beverley Gibbs and Gary Wood

(How) Does assessment motivate students?

The concept of intrinsic motivation covers a number of ideas including students recognising that they are instrumental in their own success, believing in their own ability to succeed, and developing the deep personal interest that drives engagement and learning. It is accompanied by the hotly-debated idea that external rewards undermine the development of intrinsic motivation (Deci, Koestner & Ryan, 2001). This tweetchat invites the community to consider the ways in which summative assessment promotes or undermines intrinsic motivation.

What is less arguable is that assessment has proliferated across higher education. Modularisation, and the compartmentalisation of learning it has encouraged, has contributed to this escalation. There are more assessment points, more assessment types, and more reasons for adding assessment. As its best, assessment provides feedback opportunities (formative assessment) or measures learning in the progress and conclusion of a unit of study (summative assessment). However, we also use it for more pragmatic purposes such as managing students’ behaviour: to make them read texts, complete risk assessments for practical work, use particular facilities, to turn up and engage – to name but a few.

An important question, then, is what would happen if we stripped away assessments primarily to control behaviours? Is their only value to corral students with lower levels of intrinsic motivation to engage with study? To the extent that they achieve that aim, what detrimental impact do they have for the development of intrinsic motivation? Which students would thrive, and which would struggle, if we removed assessment for behaviour management, and what alternative scaffolding devices might help? Join us for this #LTHEchat to explore these questions, and share your experiences.

Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation in education: Reconsidered once again. Review of educational research, 71(1), 1-27.



Bev is Director of Learning and Teaching (Strategy) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield where she looks after accreditation, pedagogy, curriculum and employability across the Department’s educational portfolio, and is Programme Director for 750 students on MEng and BEng Mechanical Engineering degrees. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has long-standing interests in student empowerment and in interdisciplinary learning. @bevgibbs

Gary …

Gary is a National Teaching Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is Head of Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy (SELA), an interdisciplinary, experiential development programme for high-potential undergraduate engineers, and University Teacher in Professional Skills, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield. His work connects students’ learning to their career aspirations, with a focus on personalising their learning experience, and integrating learning through working on projects. He is passionate about student engagement in learning design, and the value of co-creation. @GC_Wood

The Wakelet for this Session

Coming soon…………….

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