The impact of changing assessment: does it make a difference to students' grade performance?

Ahmed, Rafiuddin (2015) The impact of changing assessment: does it make a difference to students' grade performance? In: Proceedings of the Allied Academies International Internet Conference (17(1)) pp. 29-35. From: Allied Academies International Internet Conference, 20-24 July, 2015.

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Assessment in the higher education sector is widely researched for its relevance to outcome measurements in different forms such as grade performance, students exit skills at graduation, and employability. A widely used form of assessment, summative assessment, gauges students’ performance along these dimensions. Summative assessments are reflective of students’ performance and achievements in a subject and can be used during or at the end of any academic period. However, summative assessment is criticized for its lack of timely feedback to students, and in failing to motivate and engage students in teaching and learning activities. The current quasi-experimental study reports the impact of a change in assessment from a single summative paper based mid-term examination to three short online, open book, continuous mid-term summative examinations in a third year management accounting subject. Assessment change was contemplated due to the institution's changes in subject and course delivery platform, to free staff time in research and professional development activities and also to trial its online assessment facilities. The subject is a compulsory third year accounting unit taken mostly by accounting majors. The key objective of the study is to explore the impact of the change in assessment on students' performance in other ongoing summative assessment items and overall exit score (and the grade) in the subject. A number of statistical analyses were made using data of students' grades before and after the changes in the assessment item (that is, midterm). The analyses revealed that students' performance, as measured by marks in the final exam, overall marks and the final grade in the subject did not significantly improve as a result of the change in mid-term examination format. Other measures of performance such as changes in student numbers in different grade categories did not reveal changes at any statistically significant level. The findings of this study are contrary to common views in the literature that changes in assessment improve grade performance in a subject. In fact, the performance of the students in subsequent summative assessment and overall marks in the subject slightly declined after the change in the assessment item. No evidence of increased efforts to learn, engage and grasp the subject content was found. Overall, the study reinforces the traditional argument that the paper based assessment still works as good as, if not better than, technology driven assessment such as online open book examinations. The findings of this study are limited by its small sample size, and therefore generalizations need to be validated by a larger sample, by including different subjects in the study and/or by conducting studies in different institutions. Although some variations in assessment practice are desirable in any institution, especially by the teaching and learning development staff, teachers involved in subject delivery should change assessment items with caution.

Item ID: 42133
Item Type: Conference Item (Scholarly Work)
ISSN: 2050-8313
Keywords: motivation, learning, engagement, continuous assessment, summative assessment, online quiz.
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2016 05:49
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150105 Management Accounting @ 40%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation @ 60%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 20%
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