Investigating-assessment practices as a starting point for change: the case of a health sciences faculty

  • Viki Janse Van Rensburg



Compliance to national policy has required shifts in teaching, learning and assessment practices  in higher education .


To investigate current assessment practices in a faculty of health sciences as an impetus for change and to identify strategies to support lecturers in policy implementation .


The study design was a formative, improvement-oriented evaluation.  Qualitative and quantitative data gathering methods were used.

Participants :

Nine departments' examination scripts were included in the sample . Six of the nine heads of department participated in a focus group.


A faculty of health sciences in the Western Cape.


The questions in 27 final year examination papers were analysed according to National Qualifications Framework Level 8 competency descriptors as criteria. A focus group interview was conducted with heads of departments for their perspectives on challenges and enablers experienced during implementation of the policy.


Uneven use of newer assessment  practices in the faculty was indicated. Identification of challenges and solutions suggest that assessment practice could only change if teaching practice changed.

Conclusion :

Support for professional development and collaborative  action research were identified as possible strategies for implementing change in teaching and learning.


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