Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education


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Institutions can benefit from using project risk management techniques to manage these risks. Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e. This repository has been built using EPrints software , developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website. University of Southampton Institutional Repository. Towards a grounded theory of computer-assisted assessment uptake in UK universities. Record type: Thesis Doctoral.

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Many content management systems will have easy to set up and use systems for online exams. It is also envisaged that computer-based formative assessment, in particular, will play an increasingly important role in learning, [3] with the increased use of banks of question items for the construction and delivery of dynamic, on-demand assessments. The effectiveness of these assessments has been frequently demonstrated in studies, both in the form of positive student feedback and improvement in student performance see, for example, Einig or Marriott and Lau From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Archived from the original on 17 October Retrieved 22 February The three functions of different types of assessment are: Diagnostic :- to identify strengths and weaknesses. Formative :- to provide feedback to students. Summative :- to estimate performance for the purpose of formal assessment at the end of a course or unit of study.

In practice the types and functions of tests are not clear cut. Technology can be used for assessment purposes at various levels ranging from the management of the assessment information to a fully automated assessment system. Using technology for the management of assessment information can enable information to be presented in different ways to meet the needs of different audiences such as teachers, students, course organisers and external examiners.

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Not only the quality of presentation of reports but more importantly the range and scope of their content can be improved by utilising technology for this purpose. At the other extreme, in a fully automated assessment system all aspects of the system from the assessment which the student completes to the processing and administration of the marks, including the overall management of assessment information, is technology-based.

Assessment strategy should be considered during Course Design, here it is useful to ask ourselves: What kind of things do we want our students to learn? What opportunities will be provided? What assessment tasks will be set? What methods of assessment will be used?


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Analysing the types of learning which we require to take place has significant implications for the instructional design, assessment strategies and methods. Since assessment involves measuring it gives rise to problems in: Choosing a valid assessment instrument; Finding a suitable unit of measurement; Ensuring the test is measuring what it is supposed to measure; Scorer reliability, especially if more than one marker is involved; Using valid statistical methods and drawing valid inferences from measures.

Why change current practice? Drive to find effective new and improved assessment methods. Focus on Quality Assurance. The changing aims of HE mix of academic, vocational and general transferable skills. Emphasising deep learning rather than shallow. Interest in using new teaching methods. Need for greater cost effectiveness. To save staff time. Advantages in the use of IT for Assessment More frequent formative and summative assessment. Staff can be alerted sooner to adapt their teaching. Can spend less time marking. Self-assessment; in the student's own time, at their own pace, when they are ready.

Increased student confidence. Students like rapid results. There is growing interest and increasing practical experience in the use of computers to deliver objective tests. Objective testing is often taken to imply the use of multiple choice questions MCQs.

The use of computers in the assessment of student learning

However, objective tests can incorporate a wide range of question styles in addition to standard multiple choice questions; for example multiple response, word entry, number entry, gapfill and free-format where student entry is compared to a correct solution using a keyword search.

Objective tests, and MCQs in particular, are generally considered to be an efficient method of testing factual knowledge, enabling a wide syllabus to be examined in a relatively short time. It is, however, important for academic staff to be aware of the limitations of objective tests especially MCQs , particularly in their inability to indicate higher level and process skills.

Objective tests can be used for both formative and summative assessments, and a variety of scoring systems can be applied, tailored to the importance of discouraging students from guessing answers. Several packages are available which are designed for the electronic delivery of objective tests e. Entering questions is generally straightforward, requiring minimal experience with the package. Although the design of questions for computer based delivery is no more difficult than for paper based objective tests, this remains non-trivial and the most time consuming part of the whole objective testing process.

Difficulties can sometimes arise where subjects require the use of specialised notation such as for mathematics, chemistry or linguistics but these can almost always be overcome by the use of appropriate specialised fonts, or the inclusion of small graphic objects. When the test has been completed the students responses are marked automatically, quickly and consistently. Computerised delivery of objective tests offers interesting possibilities not available within paper based systems: The creation of a bank of questions invites the possibility of each student being presented with a paper made up of different questions, but of an equivalent standard.

Some words of caution need to be associated with such an approach - the identification of questions which are truly of an equivalent standard is not a trivial task. Instant computerised marking facilitates immediate feedback for the students. Students can be invited to sit tests as frequently as they find useful.

Computerised recording of results facilitates the analysis of groups' responses to questions. Electronic delivery of tests need not be restricted to MCQs, and the results recorded need not only be whether a response is right or wrong. Consider the situation where a question has been posed, but the student is unable to get started. In a traditional setting for a summative test this student would be forced to omit this question and try another. In an electronic setting it is possible to include an option to provide a hint for the student.

Most computer based assessment packages can operate in a choice of modes, perhaps described as tutorial or exam mode. The exact number of modes available varies from package to package, but four modes is not uncommon, each offering a different level of detailed feedback for the student, to assist them in reaching the correct answer, or explaining why their response was not correct.

Computer Assisted Assessment

Questions can be split up into several stages, and marks can be awarded at interim stages before a final answer is determined. Marks can be deducted if hints have been provided. For students who have made a slip, the computer can identify an error and offer the possibility of going back, correcting an interim answer and hence enabling the student to successfully reach the final stages of a question. In addition to using electronic packages to create unique tests, it is possible to use the computer to generate different tests automatically.

Question banks : Electronic selection of questions from a bank has already been mentioned as one possibility for the electronic generation of tests. The creation of a question bank is a demanding task for a single individual, however, where several members of staff possibly from different institutions collaborate to share questions a large bank can be established relatively quickly.

MicroCPD: Computer-Assisted Assessments using Canvas

From this a huge number of different tests can be generated. Randomisation of parameters : An alternative method of generating questions electronically is the use of parameters. The format of the question will be identical on every occasion, but one or more variables in the question is selected from a list of permitted values. These values may be entered when the question is created, or they may be generated by the computer, either randomly or according to some formula.

Feedback from students indicates that the opportunity to work through questions is often considered to be very helpful in identifying areas of weakness in their knowledge, or in developing a confidence in their understanding of a subject. Computerised delivery from a bank of questions or of randomly generated problems, supported by automated marking and feedback to the student is a flexible and efficient method of providing formative assessment, particularly where factual knowledge is an important component of the course.

Perhaps the most immediately obvious and most easily accessible use of technology to assist the assessment process is in the recording, analysis, general storage and management of results.

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A wide range of spreadsheets, statistical packages and database packages are available e. Excel, Lotus , Dataease, SPSS, Minitab, Access , into which it is easy to enter data manually if results are not already in electronic form, though enormous care must be taken to avoid transcription errors when generating the data files. Most of these packages readily accept the transfer of electronically stored data from other applications, aiding data acquisition and increasing the potential data analysis that can be carried out. Results from several assessments, courses or modules can be collated quickly, easily and accurately for discussion at examination boards, and the volume of paper required for long term storage can be dramatically reduced.

Further, any trends within the data can be fully explored, which in turn provides valuable feedback for the academic team.

Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education
Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education
Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education
Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education
Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education Computer-assisted Assessment in Higher Education

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