Kingsley Osamede Omorogiuwa:Student Learning Assessment in Open and Distance Learning: Quality Assurance Concerns
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Kingsley Osamede Omorogiuwa:Student Learning Assessment in Open and Distance Learning: Quality Assurance Concerns Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Student Learning Assessment in Open and Distance Learning: Quality Assurance Concerns By Dr. Kingsley Osamede Omorogiuwa Institute for Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa. 1
  • 2. Open and distance learning as a means of learning delivery in higher education, has become accepted as a viable alternative to conventional institutions, because it is not limited by time and space. 2
  • 3. The earliest distance learning institutions were designed for matured learners and for working adults who had desire to learn but due to other limitations could not enrol in the conventional institutions to learn. Over the years, this has changed as the improvement in communications technology and the high demand for higher education which the conventional institutions are unable to meet.3
  • 4. Open and distance learning with the obvious advantage of not being limited by time and space now enrolls large number of students. The advancement in computer and internet technology has brought about highly sophisticated and functional delivery modes, so that reaching this large population of learners is made possible. 4
  • 5. Assessment of learning in the changing world of higher education is of paramount importance. Assessment is an integral aspect student learning with a high premium of expectation by the society from the university graduates (Stefain, 1998). 5
  • 6. Fundamental to effective teaching, assessment is seen as an integral part of the teaching and learning contract, so scholarly approach is applied equally to facilitation of student learning as well as assessment of student learning (Stefain, 2004). Assessment is recognised as probably the most important factor influencing how students learn (Brown and Glesner, 1999). 6
  • 7. Computer-aided assessment (CAA) has been on the increase in distance learning, in part due to the changing higher education environment namely, increased student numbers, lower unit of resource , medullisation and increased flexibility being used in a wide range of context ( Bull et al , 2002 ) . 7
  • 8. The intensive production of ICT in higher education and the emergence of online distance education and- learning had forced a rethink teaching and learning model (Sangria & Gonzalez-Sannamed, 2004). This has also brought about the need for new assessment experiences which are suitable for e-learning . These experiences should be noted in openness and flexibility (Morgan & O’Reilly 1999).8
  • 9. Reflections offered by experts in the field of DL shows that online test are limited to self-assessment or objective tests, even if they are few expectations using projects and the portfolio approach (Zuniga, 2001; Silva, 2007). 9
  • 10. Quality Assurance Concerns 10
  • 11. Most DL programmes have designated examination centres for the summative assessments, where the level of quality is dependent on the psychometrics of the test, the test administration and scoring. The issues arising from this is not different with that of the conventional institutions which can be handled by institutional monitoring units. 11
  • 12. With the advent of e-learning in DL, formative evaluation trend has become online based. The prevention of plagiarism has become the subject of much attention, but insufficient attention has been given to other problems of dishonesty in online assessment (Rowe, 2004). 12
  • 13. Everybody lies at one time or another (Ford, 1996), and cheating is common in education (Gathrop & Foss, 2000; Dick et al, 2003). Gzet (1999) reports that cheating increased significantly in the second half of the twentieth century and that cheating increases with the age of the student at least through the age 25, which could have serious implications for distance learning with its older students.13
  • 14. Cheating also has been observed to increase as the bandwidth (information per second) of the communication channel between assessor and assessed decreases, that is people who feel more “distant” cheat more (George and Carlson, 1999; Burgeon, et al 2003). 14
  • 15. Rowe (2004) identified three serious problems involving online assessment these include getting assessment answers in advance, unfair retaking of assessments and unauthorized help during the assessment. 15
  • 16. Olt (2002) stated that in e- assessment it is hard to ensure all students the take the test simultaneously, or else students who take the test earlier supply the answers to others who take it later. To address this, different items may need to be used for different test takers or large number of items be used. It is however difficult to fairly score different items and unfair when number of items becomes too large.16
  • 17. Answers to the test items can be known before hand by students breaking into security blocks. This can be done by cracker software, social engineering methods like pretending to be system managers and seeking information that can allow them gain access to the test answers (Mitnick, 2002). 17
  • 18. Students may take an assessment simultaneously as the instructor’s password is adequately protected; there is a possibility to use “spyware” to electronically gain access to other students responses and what the instructor is typing in his computer (Mintz, 2002). Student could also use software called “sniffers” to gain access to fellow students or instructors answers or password (Mc Clure et al, 2001)18
  • 19. Unfair retaking of assessments is another serious problem with online assessment, as students could stop the server after grading is done but before it is recorded, given the extra time to consult collaborators or unauthorised reference materials. Some even adjust the system clock, that make it look like taken at an earlier date and overwrite the lower grade.19
  • 20. Unauthorized help during assessment is considered as probably the most serious problem with online assessment as there exist is a challenge of confirming that the student is in fact who they claim they are, unauthorized collaboration, hiring consultants or other student to assist with the test are serious concerns which cannot be ignored. 20
  • 21. “High-tech” solutions of infra-red or electronic monitoring is an effort but may be inadequate as communication is possible through optical and aural forms (Rowe, 2004). 21
  • 22. Addressing these Concerns 22
  • 23. On the problem of getting assessment answers in advance, the first remedy should be that formative assessment as the name implies should be used as a means of facilitating learning. Scores allotted to it, should only serve the purpose of qualifying the student for the summative assessment. 23
  • 24. This should be introduced as a matter of policy and should be made known to the students. There is also the challenge of a one stop assessment of summative assessment. This can be addressed by allowing for flexibility for students to take the assessments when they are ready for it with at least two opportunities in one study session. 24
  • 25. Considering the problem of unfair retaking of assessments, this exist because the formative assessment is not seen as it should be, to facilitate learning. Students should be encouraged to take the test a number of times and see it as a learning process and scores obtained should not add up to the final assessment but to serve as qualification for the summative assessment.25
  • 26. Regarding the problem of unauthorized help during assessment, assessments which is meant for the purpose of grading should be conducted with the presence of proctors. The challenges of unauthorized collaboration cannot be adequately addressed by technological control as these can always be beaten over time.26
  • 27. Conclusion 27
  • 28. There is no doubt that DE is the most appealing solution to the large number of students who desire education but who cannot find a place in conventional institutions due to the challenge of space and time. While the e-learning technology has the capacity of effectively handling teaching and learning issues. 28
  • 29. It is far from effectively handling assessment issues, it should however be used for formative assessment in other to facilitate learning and when grading is involved, the traditional summative evaluation procedures should be employed. 29
  • 30. It must be noted that the purpose of schooling is learning not assessment, but when certification is needed then learners should be ready for some constraints to make the process worthwhile. 30
  • 31. THANK YOU 31