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I know a 2.1 when I see it
Prof. Margaret Price

Published on 21st February 2006

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This piece is about how students ?come to know? the assessment standards they must meet. It is proposed that there has been too much reliance on explicit articulation of standards aimed at achieving transparency through, for example, learning outcomes and assessment criteria. This is, currently, the dominant logic of higher education and it conceals the importance of tacit knowledge in understanding assessment standards. Ideas from the literature on knowledge management theory and practical evidence is presented to back the claim that meaningful knowledge of assessment standards can only be achieved when both tacit and explicit knowledge are transferred.

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BAUMARD, P. (1999) Tacit Knowledge in Organizations, London, Sage Publications.

O?DONOVAN, B., PRICE, M. & RUST C. (2004) Know what I mean? Enhancing student understanding of assessment standards and criteria, Teaching in Higher Education, 9 (3), pp.325-335

PRICE, M. AND RUST, C. (1999), The experience of introducing a common criteria assessment grid across an academic department, Quality in Higher Education, 2, pp.133-144.

POLANYI, M. (1998) The tacit dimension, Reprinted in L. PRUSAK (Ed.), Knowledge in Organizations, Boston, Butterworth Heineman.

RUST, C, PRICE, M. AND O?DONOVAN, B (2003) Improving students learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes, Assessment and Evaluation, 28 (2), pp.147-164.

WEBSTER, F., PEPPER, D. & JENKINS, A (2000) Assessing the undergraduate dissertation, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 1, pp.72-80.

Related links:
Assessment Standards Knowledge Exchange (ASKe) CETL website

"Whilst I agree that explicit and tacit knowledge are both very important, I am still unsure of the practical side of the transfer of tacit knowledge. Marking exercise workshops are very useful in OU tutor staff development for the transfer of tacit knowledge and peer assessment may also aid students acquire tacit knowledge of good communication communicate. However tacit transfer of knowledge is more complex in a distance learning context.

Some entry level OU maths modules (e.g. MU120 [Maths Level 1]) do include small marking exercises in the early sections, to help students gain tacit knowledge of how to recognise and present good mathematical communication. This is an important skill, which they will need throughout their studies and beyond." (Judy Ekins, The Open University, 21 February 2006)