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Preparing students for life beyond university

10 Apr 2013

The University of Sydney Business School, along with other tertiary institutions across Australia, is currently reviewing its teaching priorities to ensure that students are able to use their education in the world beyond the lecture theatre.

Learning specialists at Business School say that the nationwide review will ensure that teaching is more oriented towards learning outcomes. The change process will also lead to an agreed system for measuring a student's ability to "demonstrate their level of learning" at the end of their course.

"We are shifting away from student satisfaction scales as the sole measure of success," said Associate Professor Michele Scoufis, "In future, we will measure a student's ability to demonstrate or use the qualifications they have gained."

Associate Professor Scoufis, who is the Associate Dean and Director of Learning and Teaching, recently chaired a national conference on the process of assessing and reporting learning and teaching.

"The conference focused on ways to measure the quality and impact of higher education," Associate Professor Scoufis said. "While the national Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) covers both teaching standards and learning outcomes, the conference was very much focused on the latter."

The conference looked at a number of different ways of assessing learning outcomes. Associate Professor Mark Freeman presented a paper on the blind peer review of student achievement against accounting threshold standards. Dr Catherine Sutton-Brady has also led a national project to define standards in Marketing programs.

Conference participants noted the additional workload involved in the new approach but also acknowledged the positive effects of "peer conversations concerned with calibrating the assessment of final year student work".

"All of these initiatives in our School depend upon the engagement of staff and the sharing of effective practices especially in the area of assessment," concluded Associate Professor Scoufis. "Throughout this process, our School has played a leadership role and demonstrated a firm commitment to quality learning and teaching and enhancement of both."