Module 10





Appropriate Assessment
for Coastal and Marine Studies



Workshop Outline

Materials Required




The last two decades have witnessed great changes in how we think about the assessment of learning. This has important implications for coastal and marine studies. Perhaps the most noticeable change is a new focus on the relationship between learning and the monitoring, measurement and reporting of what has been achieved. The goal today is towards integration in which assessment becomes an integral part of students' day-to-day learning experience. This goal is especially important in coastal and marine studies, as in all aspects of environmental education, because of its focus on a wide range of knowledge, skill, attitudinal and action objectives - and these cannot be assessed merely by 'memory recall' testing.

This workshop seeks to help teachers understand this integrated focus for assessing learning and to suggest methods to achieve such integration in their classrooms. The activities seek to help teachers understand their own assessment practices and how they might develop their skills in this area.


The objectives of this workshop are:

  • to provide a sense of direction and innovation in the assessment of learning in coastal and marine studies;

  • to analyse key assessment issues and make decisions that will integrate assessment with effective teaching and learning; and

  • to illustrate some interesting ways that knowledge, skills, values and actions developed through coastal and marine studies programmes can be assessed.

Workshop Outline

This workshop is organised in two sections. The first part looks at what assessment tries to do and why. The second section examines how the knowledge, skills, attitude and action and objectives of coastal and marine studies can be assessed.

Theme A: The What and Why of Assessment

  1. Introduction
    This activity provides participants with an outline of the workshop and involves them in an icebreaker activity.

  2. Clarifying Definitions of Assessment
    This activity involves participants working individually and in groups to clarify definitions of what assessment is or might be.

  3. Changing Attitudes to Assessment
    In this activity, participants work in pairs to investigate contrasting views and changing attitudes to assessment.

  4. The Purposes of Assessment for Coastal and Marine Studies
    This activity involves group discussion to help participants realise the value of assessment for learning in coastal and marine studies rather than for certification.

  5. Formative and Summative Assessment
    This activity focuses on assessment practices that can support and encourage effective teaching and learning in coastal and marine studies.

Theme B: The How of Assessment

  1. Different Methods
    This activity introduces several assessment methods and invites participants to analyse their suitability for coastal and marine studies.

  2. Assessment that Meets the Objectives of Coastal and Marine Studies
    Participants work in groups to evaluate how well various assessment methods address the objectives of coastal and marine studies.

  3. Conclusion
    This activity returns to the introductory 'Tea Party' and invites participants to discuss how their responses to the questions in Activity 1 may have changed or been clarified through the workshop.

Materials Required

Overhead Transparency Masters

OHT 1 Overview of the Workshop
OHT 2 Definitions of Assessment
OHT 3 Questions for Changing Views on Assessment
OHT 4 Value of Assessment for Learning in Coastal and Marine Studies



Resource 1 Tea Party Questions
Resource 2 Some Teachers' Views on Assessment
Resource 3 Changing Views on Assessment
Resource 4 What is Assessment For?
Resource 5 Two Assessment Situations
Resource 6 How to Assess
Resource 7 Possible Methods of Assessment in Coastal and Marine Studies
Resource 8 Assessment Methods for Coastal and Marine Studies - Merits and Pitfalls
Resource 9 Meeting the Objectives of Coastal and Marine Studies



Reading 1 What are Assessment and Evaluation?
Reading 2 Should Environmental Educators be Concerned with Matters of Assessment?


Department of Education Queensland (1993) P-12 Environmental Education Curriculum Guide, Department of Education, Brisbane.

Eckstein, M. and Noah, H. (1992) Examinations: Comparative and International Studies, Pergammon, Oxford.

Gayford, C. and Macintosh, H. (1986) Profiling: A Users Manual, Stanley Thornes, Cheltenham, U.K.

Hunt, G., Murdoch, K. and Walker, K., (1996) Assessment and Evaluation: Profiling Achievement in SOSE, in R. Gilbert (ed) Studying Society and Environment: A Handbook for Teachers, Macmillan, Melbourne, Ch. 20.

Lloyd-Jones R. and Bray, E. (1986) Assessment: From Principles to Action, Macmillian, London.

Rowntree, D. (1977) Assessing Students: How Shall We Know Them? Harper Row, London.

Satterly, D. (1989) Assessment in Schools, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.

Stimpson, P. (1995) The Assessment of Learning within Environmental Education, Learning for a Sustainable Environment: Innovations in Teacher Education Through Environmental Education, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Educational Innovation for Development, Bangkok, draft module.

Sumner, R. (1991) The Role of Assessment in Schools, NFER-Nelson, London.

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board (VCAB) (1990) Geography Study Design, VCAB, Melbourne.

Wilson, J. (1992) Assessment and Evaluation, in M. Wooley and K. Pigdon (eds) The Big Picture: Integrating Children's Learning, Eleanor Curtain, Melbourne.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) (1994) Planning and Evaluation of Environmental Education, WWF, London.