Innovations in assessment: an investigation into the role of blended learning as a support mechanism for assessment

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Slides for the presentation by Sarah Field and Lucy Jones (University of Brighton) at LILAC10.

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Innovations in assessment: an investigation into the role of blended learning as a support mechanism for assessment

  1. 1. Innovations in Assessment An investigation into the role of blended learning as a support mechanism for assessment Sarah Field & Lucy Jones Brighton Business School January 2010
  2. 2. Aim of Project <ul><li>To understand more about effective ways of using information and communications technology to enhance the student learning experience. </li></ul><ul><li>I n particular, to investigate issues related to blended learning and assessment innovations. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Motivating Factors <ul><li>The need for additional formative assessment and feedback in law modules where radical changes in summative assessment had been introduced: from the usual 70% unseen examination 30% coursework ratio to a 100% seen examination. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Effective feedback goes to the heart of the student learning experience <ul><li>Feedback should ‘promote learning and facilitate improvement’. (Quality Assurance Agency 2001) ‘ Feedback’ and ‘feed-forward’ should be systematically embedded in curriculum practices. (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Creating an environment rich with useful, high-quality feedback that supports effective student learning is possible without a negative impact on staff time.” supra. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Blended Learning and Formative Assessment <ul><li>Advances in computer technology have enabled the union of e-learning and formative assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Computer based assessments have the potential to provide an effective mechanism for giving feedback and are, at least, moderately effective in supporting student learning. (Miller 2009) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Concerns <ul><li>Most academics acknowledge the need for assessment innovations. In addition, there is general concern over: </li></ul><ul><li>Limits on lecturers’ time </li></ul><ul><li>Increased student numbers </li></ul><ul><li>No additional resources </li></ul><ul><li>Incidence and prevalence of plagiarism in coursework. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The LLB Programme at the University of Brighton <ul><li>Within the LLB programme there is an emphasis on innovation in student development, assessment and learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of assessment methods are used in Law modules. </li></ul><ul><li>The introduction of the 100% seen examination is a half way house between the unseen examination and Coursework. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Assessment by 100% Seen Examination: <ul><li>Rationale </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the burden of summative assessment through out the academic year. </li></ul><ul><li>Address concerns about ethical practice (particularly with regard to coursework). </li></ul><ul><li>The return to the traditional 100% unseen examination was viewed as a retrogressive step in student assessment. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Blended learning introduced to support method of assessment <ul><li>Rationale </li></ul><ul><li>Increase the opportunities for formative assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Students benefit from one to one communication with lecturer and feedback. </li></ul><ul><li>Time to complete the formative assessment is clearly built into the lecture/seminar structure. </li></ul><ul><li>No additional resources are required. </li></ul><ul><li>Builds on 'HEFCE strategy for e-learning' ( HEFCE 2005/12 ) which focuses on enhancing learning, teaching and assessment through the use of technology. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Assessment in Criminal Law: Year 2 Core module <ul><li>100% seen examination </li></ul><ul><li>An examination paper is released to students two weeks prior to the examination date. </li></ul><ul><li>The three hour paper takes the form of two compulsory problem questions and a choice of two out of four essay questions. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Pilot study <ul><li>2007/8: revision folder on the criminal law module page of ‘studentcentral’. </li></ul><ul><li>In face-to-face session, students alerted to the e learning session to replace F2F revision session. </li></ul><ul><li>The materials: 2 sets of revision aids, 4 multiple choice revision tests (answers also supplied separately), a mock exam question. </li></ul><ul><li>A statistical tracker system was enabled to monitor student access of the materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaires distributed to the students. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questionnaire on e-learning session distributed to students <ul><li>45 students (66%) completed the questionnaire. </li></ul><ul><li>43 (95%) felt that the e-learning session had been a positive learning experience. </li></ul>“ The e-learning gives you a chance to find out properly whether your understanding and knowledge of the subject is along the right lines.” “ It is useful to be able to get the chance to attempt to answer a written question and then to have it marked.” “ Quick questions were good revision tool to check how much you know of basic principles.”
  13. 13. The Research Study <ul><li>Blended learning introduced into two core modules: </li></ul><ul><li>Public Law (year 1): Assessment = 30% coursework + 70% closed book examination </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal Law (year 2): Assessment = 100% seen examination </li></ul>
  14. 14. Module Design <ul><li>E-learning sessions introduced in place of face to face seminars (35% for Criminal Law, 20% Public Law). </li></ul><ul><li>The activities range from short answer questions on topics covered in lectures, mini research questions and formatively assessed exam-style essay and problem questions. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Student Perceptions <ul><li>Questionnaire: 10 questions formulated so that students could choose from 3 possible responses (agree/not sure/disagree). </li></ul><ul><li>Some open ended questions to elicit more detailed responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire distributed towards the end of the module. </li></ul><ul><li>Response rate: 80 returns (approx 56%). </li></ul>
  16. 16. Student Engagement Participation from student questionnaire Participation extracted from tracker system on studentcentral Yes No Yes No
  17. 17. The ratio of e-learning sessions to face to face sessions was about right for the module Agree Not sure Disagree Ratio of On-Line & Face to Face Ratio of On-Line to Face-to-face Sessions 65.31% 18.37% 16.33%
  18. 18. I appreciated being able to choose when and where to complete the e learning material. Agree Not sure Disagree Flexibility of On-Line Learning Flexibility of On-Line Learning 81.63% 8.16% 10.20%
  19. 19. E-learning helped develop my understanding of the subject Agree Not Sure Disagree Helped Understanding of Subject 51.02% 32.65% 16.33%
  20. 20. E-learning encouraged me to work independently Agree Not sure Disagree Increased Independent Learning 53.06% 18.37% 28.57%
  21. 21. E-Learning helped me to prepare for assessment (examination/coursework) Agree Not Sure Disagree Helped Prepare for Assessment 36.73% 28.57% 34.69%
  22. 22. Is it working? The results <ul><li>Criminal Law 2008/9 overall examination mark remains within boundaries of previous years but average mark for topic areas covered by e-learning increases to 61.5% from 59%. </li></ul><ul><li>Public Law 2008/9 overall examination mark remains within boundaries of previous years but average mark for topic areas covered by e-learning increases to 57.5% from 51%. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusions <ul><li>Students are prepared to participate in formative assessment via e-learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Students are more likely to engage with the materials than they are to prepare for all face to face seminars. </li></ul><ul><li>Students appreciate the flexibility and accessibility of e-learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ perception of blended learning as an effective learning tool for developing understanding of topic areas and as preparation for summative assessment is questionable. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Conclusions <ul><li>Blended Learning : </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances the student learning experience without the need for additional resources </li></ul><ul><li>Supports shifts in assessment practices where there has been a move towards greater use of summative assessment by examinations. </li></ul><ul><li>The seen examination paper appears to work well as a halfway house between the traditional unseen examination and assessment through coursework. </li></ul>

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