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In search of meaningful assessment in the university curriculum: the case for culturally relevant pedagogy

Muliaina, Tolu A. (2018) In search of meaningful assessment in the university curriculum: the case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Australian Geographer, 1 (1). pp. 1-20. ISSN 0004-9182

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The poor performance of Pacific students at university is a concern for every level of society. conventional models of teaching, learning and assessment have overlooked the cultural background of students, yet the effects of this oversight have been disastrous, alienating and disempowering. Studies of and developments in education in the Pacific and elsewhere offer opportunities to rethink the methods of teaching, learning and assessment of Pacific students in ways that are congruent with their home culture. Informed by the principle of so'a lau pule (the Samoan concept of consensus through consultation and conversation) and ethnographic research methods, this study describes an attempt to rethink ways of teaching, learning and assessing student performance in a third-year course on Resource Conservation and Management in the School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment at the University of the South Pacific. Introduced in 2007, the Student Innovative Contribution to Knowledge (SICK) allows students to participate in key decisions concerning teaching, learning and assessment. SICK is grounded in the principles of inclusiveness and participation. It takes account of the skills and abilities of Pacific students and is aligned with the philosophical basis of Pacific cultures. One hundred and fifty-eight students took part in this study over a 5-year period. analysis was based on students' written review of the semester's work, in-depth conversation with individual students and the end-of-the-course evaluation. The findings show that, while students embrace the need for non-conventional forms of teaching, learning and assessment, the most frequently cited responses for non-participation are poor time management and varying perceptions of what is considered an innovative assessment. This study shows that understanding the cultural background of students in critical to creating culturally inclusive learning environments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Tolu Muliaina
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2018 00:35
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 03:31

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