Developing a performance assessment task in the Finnish higher education context: conceptual and empirical insights

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Background Performance assessment development is a three-phase process of (1) defining the construct of what is to be measured, (2) constructing the test items, task, and scoring criteria, and (3) collecting empirical evidence on extent to which they tap into the intended construct. Aims In the light of the three-phase process, this pilot study presents the development of performance assessment for research on critical thinking and moral judgement to be utilized in the Finnish higher education context. In particular, it explores the cognitive processes and moral judgement that occur while completing the assessment and how both task and respondent characteristics are associated with these processes. Sample The study was conducted with five participants drawn from purposeful sampling. Methods We collected the data from cognitive laboratories with think-alouds and interviews. The data were analysed using a qualitative abductive approach. Results The instructions together with sources given for completing the assessment triggered participants' critical and moral judgement. The results also indicate that the performance assessment being developed has relevance to everyday life. The theme of assessment was experienced meaningful, and it maintained the participants' interest throughout the completion of the task. The assessment was open-ended and allowed multiple lines of thinking. The participants perceived the task as being challenging. The prior knowledge of the participants, their integrity, and capability to monitor thinking and performance was related to the ways of performing the task. Conclusions Based on preliminary evidence drawn from the pilot data, the study concludes by outlining the strengths of the task as well as modifications that are needed in order to develop this specific performance assessment further.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)551-563
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • critical thinking
  • higher education
  • moral judgement
  • performance assessment
  • 516 Educational sciences

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