This paper presents some questionnaire and interview findings of a teaching learning development project titled "Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Assessment". The results revealed teachers' and students' different perceptions towards assessment, and the forces that dictate existing practices in the University. It is found that student learning is largely driven by the way they perceive they will be assessed, this dictates what and how they learn. Instead of learning (the main reason for their studying), they focus on how they will be assessed and how to acquire the highest possible grades. Unless assessment is constructively aligned with subject objectives and with teaching and learning methods, and requires understanding, it is found that surface, rather than deep learning occurs. The results also identify a conflict between formative and summative assessment. While grades on their own are not believed to be a good feedback mechanism, for various reasons, they are commonly used for assessment. The paper also highlights the important issue of criteria- and norm-referenced assessment. When assessing students, teachers are likely to be constrained by university policy that has always emphasised a normal grade distribution and grading criteria that does not always match the subjects taught resulting in likely unfairness of grading.
First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Assessment. Proceedings of the the First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Assessment (Hong Kong Polytechnic University 13-15 June, 2005)