Reflective active learning in a graduate course on assessment

Menucha Birenbaum*, Lisa Amdur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes a graduate course on alternative assessment in which the instructional intervention was designed in accordance with constructivist principles. The research examines the effect of this intervention on the learning and knowledge building processes and the subsequent quality of knowledge, as evidenced in students’ learning journals. The aims of the intervention were: (a) to introduce the students to a culture which facilitates the application of alternative assessment; (b) to familiarise the students with alternative assessment instruments through their own personal experience; and (c) to enhance reflection on assessment topics so as to contribute to mindful assessment practice. The intervention included a variety of teaching methods centred on activities that involve a multidirectional dialogue amongst the course participants. The 25 participants formed a heterogeneous group as far as teaching experience, class teaching level, types of school, and reasons for joining the course. To examine the effect of the intervention, the learning journals were analysed qualitatively. As a result of the analysis two dimensions were identified: reflection and learning outcomes. The first included two categories: metacognition and reflectivity, whereas the second included three categories: personalisation of knowledge, its development and its quality. The learning journals were scored with respect to these categories and the score distributions were examined. The findings pointed to conceptual development and change occurring to a large extent in about half of the students. The article concludes with discussion of the factors which seem to facilitate the construction of personal knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Phytoremediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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