22 SES 07 C, Learning and Assessment
The main aim of this study was to analyse university students’ views of assessment’s role and meaning in their academic learning. Theoretical background was designed by means of concepts formative (assessment for learning) and summative (assessment of learning) assessment. Several views of alternative assessment methods were explained. Theoretical notions of feedback were presented in shedding light on the successful mechanisms to promote learning processes.
The key research questions were:
- How is the role of summative and formative assessment perceived by students?
- How satisfied students are with the feedback and feedforward activities during learning processes?
- How do the students see the nature of assessment as being mistake- or strength-based?
- How students make difference between low-quality and high-quality feedback in relation to their academic learning tasks?
- Are there relationships between background variables and assessment views?
Two sets of data were gathered: First, a statistically representative sample of the students of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) was administered. All 13 fields of studies (dentistry, economics and business administration, education, forest sciences, health sciences, humanities, law, medicine, natural sciences, pharmacy, psychology, social sciences, theology) were properly represented in the sample. 385 students filled in the e-questionnaire (Dataset 1). Secondly, 613 UEF-students who were enrolled in the study modules (f = 26) that followed principles of flipped classroom also filled in the e-questionnaire as the pre-and post-test (Dataset 2). The questionnaire consisted of 10 Likert-scale items (totally disagree… totally agree) that covered nature of the experienced assessments (developmental-declarative, summative-formative, mistake- or strength-based, exam-orientation) for both sets of data. An open-ended question was included in the Dataset 2 to describe the quality of changes. Altogether 14 items focusing on the quality of feedback were presented (Likert scale 1-5) to the students of Dataset 1. A few background variables (faculty, gender, year of studies) were asked in both datasets. Data of the quantitative items of the survey were analysed by ordinary statistical methods (percentages, means, standard deviations, correlations, t-tests, one-way Anova).
According to the results, the main dominating assessment method was individual written exam (summative approach). Students had only limited experiences of more dialogical, participatory or process-oriented methods of assessment (formative approach). They did not find the scale ‘accepted-rejected’ as useful to their learning but preferred numerical scale 1-5 (poor-excellent). Regarding flipped classrooms, the changes from pre-test to the post test indicated that summative orientation changed towards more formative in the end of courses. Students reported that their university teachers used new versatile methods of assessment which were seen as more helpful for their academic learning processes. Relationships between background variables and assessment views will be discussed in detail in the presentation.
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