Making assessment and feedback fun: feedback before and after assessments

Buchanan, W. (2011, ). Making assessment and feedback fun: feedback before and after assessments. Paper presented at Edinburgh Napier University Staff Conference, Edinburgh Napier University.


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Abstract

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) are often seen as being weak in terms of their coverage, and are criticised for often only assessing knowledge and not encouraging deep learning. This presentation shows that it is possible to scientifically design an MCQ set so that it contains the right balance of questions, and which can then be used to feedback good or weak performance, with itemised feedback. Along with this, the presentation shows that students can get instant feedback from fun tests, such as ‘who wants to be a millionaire-type’ tests, or even Frogger (an online game), which use the same question database.

The work shows how an infrastructure that can be created which the student feels comfortable with, and which gives them feedback before the test, and how the tests can be modified so that they can still challenge the student, but which they feel well prepared for. It is based on the teaching of three modules over the past five years, and shows the results on student performance within the modules, and how they are actively supported by feedback both before and after the test. Overall, there are over 80,000 questions within the created database, giving students a wide range of questions which they can practice on. The developed test engine integrates with Google APIs, such as Google Book and Google Search Engine Tools, which give students links to study material, so that they can investigate the background to the material. A key factor is that questions are marked up with a range of additional material, such as links to videos, Wikis, and so on.

The developed infrastructure uses a wide range of challenge interfaces which show a whole range of ways to present the same question, thus students can pick between a game type interface (such as Frogger) or a rich interface which gives instant feedback and links to additional material. If the student wants, they can reveal the answers, but for most of the time the students are pointed towards online material to re-enforce their learning. What could conference participants take from your experience to inform their own practice? The presentation will show how it is possible to provide a wide range of feedback using web-based methods and how the same test can be presented in a wide range of ways. The results show the type of interface that students actually learn best from, and which was actually the most used. The developed tests are also all developed in Flash, and can be easily ported to WebCT (a demonstration of this will be given). Along with this, the presentation will show how clickers were used in the lecture to enhance the learning environment and make the tests fun. For some samples visit http://buchananweb.co.uk/design_tips434.html ... see if you can win the prize!

Theoretical underpinning:

Armstrong, A. and Georgas, H. (2006). ‘Using interactive technology to teach information literacy concepts to undergraduate students’. Reference Services Review, Vol. 34 (4) pp491-7.

Beekes, W. (2006). ‘The ‘Millionaire’ method for encouraging participation’. Active Learning in Higher Education. Vol. 7 (1) 25-36.
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Authors

William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
w.buchanan@napier.ac.uk
+44 131 455 2759

Areas of Expertise

Cyber-Security
Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.

Associated Projects