Assessment has been identified as a core theme in higher education in British Universities. For students studying archaeology at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, it is essential to gain experience in a wide range of practice-based Units, such as field survey, excavation, geophysical survey, artefact handing and air photographic interpretation. For post-graduate students who are pursuing a career in archaeology, it is even more important that they elevate these skills to a professional standard. Our students come from a wide range of academic abilities and backgrounds on both full-time and part-time programmes. Learning and teaching in the field is an essential element of our teaching programmes, but the design and assessment of these practice-based Units brings specific problems: students need unambiguous information in order to carry out specific fieldwork tasks; there must be clear dissemination of the necessary methodologies that will enhance the student learning experience in the field and both peer and tutor assessment must be seen to be equitable to all parties. Assessing any practical element in the field can be criticised for its subjectivity, but a standardised methodology is far from satisfactory.
This paper will explore the problems that tutors face both in designing and delivering practice-based Units; how they can clearly explain their methodologies and put in place a fair assessment which not only gives the necessary feedback, but from which students can learn and improve their practical skills.
|Keywords:||Britain, Teaching, Assessment, Practice-Based Units, Archaeology, Fieldwork|
Head of Continuing Education in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Bristol, Bristol, Bristol, UK
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