Implementation of an Online Quiz Program to Support Learning For All Students in a First-Year Course

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Date
2015-09-22
Authors
Luu, King
Keyword
Formative Assessment , Higher Education , Online Assessment , First-Year Students
Abstract
Information and communications technology (ICT) is increasingly being incorporated into undergraduate courses to use resources efficiently without compromising teaching and learning quality. While instructors have started to revisit the use of assessment as a means to support students’ learning by encouraging greater levels of self-directed learning, traditional forms of assessment are often resource-intensive. The use of online assessment can better support students’ learning by enabling students to take more assessments, resulting in more frequent feedback. Moreover, the features found within online assessments can make administration more accessible and efficient by decreasing the necessary level of external learning supports, which can benefit both students and faculty. These features are pertinent to the application of universal design to assessment, a set of principles that focuses on minimizing differences in access between students with and without disabilities. This research reports on a case study of an undergraduate psychology course that transitioned to online quizzes, replacing one of the course’s paper-based assessments. The quizzes set out to bring forth improvements in efficiency, feedback, self-directed learning, and accessibility through practices consistent with universal design. Based on faculty and student perceptions gathered through interviews, surveys, and focus groups, in addition to quiz data, the study aimed to identify the benefits and challenges of implementing these quizzes to support teaching and learning in a large-enrolment course. The study found that timing and scheduling issues during quiz administration interfered with the expectations of course staff. Consequently, students used the quizzes for unintended purposes (e.g., maximizing their marks). Moreover, because of these aforementioned issues, instructors did not express confidence that the quizzes were supporting student learning. Course administrators addressed these issues by changing the period of access one year, and then removing time limits the next. It was only after these two years that consistent and immediate feedback for students became possible; prior to these changes, among three desired properties of online assessment–accessible, efficient, and consistent–only two of them were satisfied at a given time. Thus the perceived usefulness of the quiz information (feedback) to teaching and learning was largely determined by the properties that were considered.
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