Meet the BILT Community

Meet the 2021 BILT Associates…Jo Kukuczka

The following post is from Jo Kukuczka who started her BILT Associate role on the theme of Assessment and Feedback.

I joined the Centre for Academic Language and Development (CALD) in the Faculty of Arts at Bristol in 2019 where I currently work as Subject Lead in English for Academic Purposes (EAP). My other roles include serving as External Examiner for an overseas higher education institution, founding committee member of the BALEAP Testing, Assessment, and Feedback Special Interest Group (TAFSIG), peer reviewer for Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (JLDinHE) and Bloomsbury Academic.

My higher education teaching adventure began long after graduating as an MSc in Ethnology. In the summer of 2016, I taught my first EAP pre-sessional course and immediately fell in love with the discipline. Between 2016 and 2019 I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching English for Academic Purposes (PGCert TEAP), the Advance HE Professional Development Course for External Examiners, and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDip Ed), while teaching, module leading, and designing curriculum (including assessment) on pre-sessional and in-sessional EAP programmes across a variety of levels and UK higher education institutions. In 2019, I became Fellow of BALEAP (Global Forum for EAP professionals), Fellow of HEA, and Associate Member of LCT Centre for Knowledge-Building (University of Sydney), followed by the ratification as Senior Fellow of HEA in 2021.

Assessment and feedback, as part of a wider curriculum, have always been among my primary areas of interest because they are at the heart of learning for students, teachers, and curriculum developers, and, as such, present incredible transformative power for all. Literature on the subject (Killick & Foster, 2021 and McArthur, 2020 among others), as well as my own experience bring a wealth of examples of how effective assessment and feedback practices (strongly connected to curriculum and pedagogy) can empower students to go above and beyond in their learning. Yet, at times, due to a variety of factors, something quite opposite happens, for example, when assessment is nothing more than a tick box exercise, and feedback fails to enable growth. As a BILT Associate, I aim to work towards investigating and closing this gap by exploration of effective and innovative assessment and feedback practices across the University, disseminating knowledge, and challenging ineffective processes. I envisage doing this through developing and delivering online workshops and resources enabling us to learn together.

As an EAP professional, I have been privileged to explore assessment and feedback across a variety of disciplines, and have often done so through theoretical analyses of practices, since theory enables powerful understandings of how the world (in this case, the world of assessment) works. What is more, in teaching and learning, “theorizing practice is linked to more sustainable, long-term development and change” (Clarence, 2021, p.11), therefore, providing opportunities to challenge and improve current and future practices. Furthermore, to enable deeper learning, we combine assessment of and for learning at CALD. For example, our formative assessment and dialogic feedback, as well as incorporation of regular peer feedback, build into the summative assessment on our programmes. This, as well as viewing assessment and feedback as an integral part (as well as the driver) of the wider curriculum, informs practices both, holistically and analytically, while aligning them with the current research on assessment and feedback, the University’s Education Strategy, and the Bristol Futures Curriculum Framework and its aim of making a difference through being inspiring and innovative, intellectually stimulating, and inter/disciplinary, as well as fostering personal development, a sense of belonging, and global and civic engagement.

Apart from disseminating my expertise through mentorship, development/delivery of CPD sessions, and conference presentations, I continue to learn, currently through a number of research projects, as well as commencing my doctoral journey on the impact of higher education curricula on global and civic engagement.

I am very excited to join the BILT Associates team, and very much looking forward to engaging in inspiring discussions, investigating and improving practices, and learning together.

References

Clarence, S. (2021). Turning access into success: Improving university education with Legitimation Code Theory. Routledge

Killick, D. and Foster, M. (2021). Learner relationships in global higher education: A critical pedagogy for a multicultural world. Routledge

McArthur, J. (2020). Assessment for social justice: Perspectives and practices within higher education. Bloomsbury.

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