Document Type

Conference Paper


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Publication Details

Proceedings of the

Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference

(SPARC) 2009

University of Salford



‘To understand is hard, once one understands, action is easy’ (Sun Yat Sen, 1866-1952)

Research in Built Environment has begun to emerge as a distinct field. Within that context the investigation and exploration of assessment practices has received very little attention, particularly evident in the area of formative assessment. This type of assessment and the use of effective feedback mechanisms has been an area of interest for this researcher. The aim is to improve the quality of student learning in Built Environment undergraduate programmes through the development of a theoretical model of formative assessment.

The paper discusses the philosophical paradigm which forms the basis for the main research and reflects on the early discourse around the qualitative/quantitative considerations of the researcher. It addresses the philosophical issues surmounted in the choice of research design. The application of a grounded theory approach and more particularly a constructivist stance to the research is explored and rationalised. The key characteristics of this approach are assessed and the advances in conducting and evaluating this design recognised.

The results of the initial research, which give the views and preferences of senior academics, are presented and help inform the next stages of this work in progress. The ongoing work anticipates developing a grounded model for the formative assessment of Built Environment undergraduates for the enhancement of student learning.

Keywords: built environment, formative assessment, grounded theory.

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