Exploring Implementation Issues and their Implications

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In a core unit in the Queensland University of Technology's Education Masters degree, teachers training to become school counsellors are required to learn to assess children with learning and/or behavioural problems. Students enrol in the semester-long unit in "block" mode, whereby face to face contact in the unit is limited to one block session of 5 days. After this period, they become distance learners, assessed by assignments due later in the semester. This format poses pedagogical challenges. To overcome these challenges it was necessary to design an authentic assessment task that would enhance the students' learning as well as provide opportunities for collaboration. This paper reports on the design of the action learning project which addressed these challenges. The results support the research that assessment is a powerful influence on student learning. The project also demonstrated that in order to be authentic, assessment need not mimic workplace tasks exactly.