Groupwork assessments and international postgraduate students : reflections on practice

Bamford, Jan (2004) Groupwork assessments and international postgraduate students : reflections on practice. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 2 (1). pp. 25-28. ISSN 1740-5106


Groupwork is a common learning and assessment method in Business Schools throughout the UK. It has recognised pedagogic benefits, increases active or deep learning of a subject and, although it often appears to be unpopular amongst students, for these reasons it is popular among academic staff in Business Schools. The cultural diversity of a particular cohort of students (especially those who have received no previous education in the UK) arguably has an impact on teaching method and assessment methods. It brings another dimension to the debate of ‘traditional’ versus ‘innovative’ teaching approaches and is worth further examination, particularly as the increasingly multicultural aspect of the present UK higher education environment is not a well researched field. The impact of the increasing numbers of international students dictates that issues relating to the appropriateness of teaching and learning methods must be considered within a multicultural perspective. The preference of certain international students, particularly those from the Far East, is for the more traditional teaching methods; groupwork is unpopular (Bamford et al 2002). This adds weight to the argument for maintaining traditional methods in the multinational classroom. The issue is explored here through a case study on the use of a group assessment with a cohort of international students at postgraduate level.

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