16 SES 06 A, ICT and Assessment / ICT in Higher Education
This quantitative descriptive study presents and analyzes the process of the introduction and use of a university wide digital summative assessment tool. In the end of 2015 a new digital assessment tool was introduced at a middle-sized university in Scandinavia. The whole project includes data collection on the digital formative (midterm exams and assignments) and summative assessment tool (finals). Only the summative assessment tool findings are presented here. The study spans the first and second term of the university school year after its introduction. Approximately 530 courses were taught in both semesters and are used as the raw data platform. The objective of the project, reported here, was to create an integrated picture of the digital assessment tool in use. Specific focus is on the university teachers’ activities related to the new digital application. A future analysis will look on students’ perceptions and experiences with the tool.
Within the existing culture of assessment at higher education institutions, we know that the given technological framework, in this case, the digital assessment tools with its offered digital functionalities, as well the presentation and set up of exams, influence a student’s performance (Gibbs et al., 2005). Such tools can both support and restrict (examination) performance results. As well as feedback given by the digital tool on the summative results influence their self-regulation if they need or want to resit the exam (Kieweit & van der Linden, n.d.). Therefore, it is important to evaluate the use of digital assessment tools. This is a prerequisite to undertaking measures in relation to a specific assessment culture within a higher education institution and this practice should be established, developed and changed when needed in the future.
The main research question (RQ) is formulated as follows:
“What kind of examination forms and question types are used by the lecturers who apply this newly inaugurated assessment tool and what kind of university culture does it reveal or is supported by it?”
Objective and conceptual or theoretical framework:
The study is seeking insights about the use of a university wide introduced digital summative assessment tool, specifically, increased opportunities to the lecturers to offer challenging and appropriate examination tasks. The intention is that students can solve and perform their examination tasks and processes potentially in a wider range of question types than before.
This might support different targets: a) more ‘quasi-authentic’ examination tasks which represent better future working tasks, b) better opportunities to build up students’ competence or c) to give students the chance to perform better because of different offered question types and task variations. The intentional focus is to establish, develop a certain university assessment culture. Without knowing the status quo of the existing situation, a policy control or adaption will not be manageable. One basic framework is that of creating an assessment culture which supports the university’s future strategy. Currently a new strategy plan for the whole university is in the developmental stage and will be implemented at the end of this year.
Cultivating a culture of assessment is not a one-time activity or the responsibility of just a single person. It must include different stakeholders at the university and establish an intentional plan that embeds assessment throughout the teaching and learning process (Suskie, 2009). Improved assessment will change, influence, and enhance future learning chances as well. (Suskie, 2009).
Gibbs, G., Simpson, C., Gravestock, P., & Hills, M. (2005). Conditions under which assessment supports students’ learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, 2004-05. Hillen, S. (2015). IT-Integrated Approaches in Everyday Teaching in Higher Education: Supporting Interaction and Communication in High Enrollment Classes (pp.67-84). In Conway, et al., (Eds.). Digital Media in Teaching and its Added Value. Waxmann Verlag GmbH. Kiewiet, K. & van der Linden, J. (n.d.) Digital formative feedback on summative assessment. Retrieved: https://eaprilconference.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/b12-1-digital-formative-feedback-on-summative-assessment.pdf Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Chichester, United Kingdom: Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series.
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