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University assessment Practices at level 1: Exploring student perceptions of fairness, transparency and authenticity

Whipp, P.ORCID: 0000-0002-5895-2667 (2011) University assessment Practices at level 1: Exploring student perceptions of fairness, transparency and authenticity. In: Assessment Conference. Australian Technology Network - Meeting the Challenges, 20 - 21 October 2011, Curtin University, Perth



The present study aimed to provide understanding of Level 1 undergraduate students‘ perceptions about three concepts: fairness, transparency and authenticity, in written exams/tests, group projects, and individual assignments. The sample (N=187) comprised students from the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences at The University of Western Australia (four different Schools were represented), who were enrolled in their second semester, 2010. A two-part questionnaire was completed by students for each assessment mode (i.e., written exams and tests, group projects, and individual assignments). Part 1 was a series of scale response items. Students used a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Not at all) to 7 (To a great extent) to rate questions on fairness, transparency, and authenticity. Part 2 of the survey used open-ended qualitative questions that asked students to describe what they (a) liked, (b) disliked, and (c) would change about the assessment. The results confirmed that gender did not influence student ratings of fairness, transparency and authenticity. Exams were perceived to be significantly fairer than individual assignments, and were also perceived to be significantly more transparent when compared to group work and individual assignments. For exams and individual assignments, student perceptions about assessment appeared to be highly dependent upon the final grade they received for the assessment task. Students who obtained high distinctions perceived higher levels of fairness, transparency and authenticity than those who failed. With groupwork, similar results were found for ratings of transparency.

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