TREASURE (Teaching Research: Evaluating Assessment Strategies for Undergraduate Research Projects)

This project examines the ways in which students learn about research. Rather than focussing on assessment of factual knowledge, we are interested in how students learn about ways of thinking and practicing in their chosen discipline.

TREASURE is an OLT funded project involving the Australian National University, the University of Western Sydney and the University of Canberra. TREASURE aims to enhance student learning in undergraduate research projects by:

  • encouraging students to think about the nature of research;
  • providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the disciplinary and generic skills they are developing; and
  • assisting supervisors to provide targeted feedback by letting them know what their students are thinking.

Previous research has suggested that student learning in undergraduate research experiences (UREs), can be limited by both their own and their supervisor’s expectations of what kind of learning opportunities the project presents. Most URE assessment occurs at the end of the project and focuses on formal presentation of findings and conclusions. This can mean that the processes through which the student arrived at their findings can be undervalued, and a student’s struggle with the reality of research and its inherent uncertainty can be hidden. Yet many project supervisors agree that it is through this process that the most important (and uniquely research-related) learning takes place. To make this learning visible to both students and supervisors, TREASURE uses learning logbooks (online reflective journals), where students reflect on their projects in response to prompt questions co-developed by the TREASURE project team and supervisors at the participating institutions. The questions are intended to scaffold student thinking about the nature of research and their developing problem-solving skills.

The project is also developing a number of resources to assist academic staff to align intended and actual learning in UREs.

More information

The TREASURE project website