Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Paper presented at the 5th International Conference of Education, Research & Innovation (ICERI) Conference 2012 held in Madrid, Spain, 19th-21st November 2012.


The Technological University Dublin is one of the largest multi-level higher education providers in Ireland. The Institute’s traditional mission has always been focused on teaching and learning in the field of advanced technical vocational education and training (TVET), and one of its agendas is to foster and encourage changes in teaching practice and methodology in order to enhance the student learning experience.

This paper is a result of the ever changing process which shows the evolution of the assessment process to its current format. It was driven by the fact that we as lecturers realised that the assessments promoted surface learning. Earlier assessments did not allow for a demonstration of knowledge but instead relied purely on memory recall. Topics were so vast and assessment questions so specific; this led to students having to memorise everything.

The questions we asked ourselves were: By giving students exam papers and asking them to recall facts and information, are we really just testing their memory? How do we know what they have learned and more importantly do they understand what they have learned?

A change was needed to promote deeper learning and to give students a better understanding of each topic. The students have to be given the opportunity to demonstrate their acquired knowledge. As external providers of a prescribed curriculum, its content was beyond our remit, so instead we had to focus on the assessment process.

Our remit: To carry out research as to whether ‘changing the assessment would promote deeper learning’. Research was carried out, focusing on groups of Apprentices in Cabinet-Making, in the final stages of their apprenticeship. The study was conducted over a number of years and primarily focused on the theory assessments. By acting upon my research findings, I was able to change the layout of the theory paper to promote deeper learning.