Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment

Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment

Selby Markham (Monash University, Australia) and John Hurt (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-410-1.ch001
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Reliability and validity have a well-established place in the development and implementation of educational assessment devices. With the advent of electronic delivery and assessment some of the factors that influence reliability and validity have changed. In order to understand the process involved the authors have suggested that a socio-technical approach to these educational issues gives an economical explanatory system. Within this socio-technical system, the authors show that the way the students extract information from sources is changing to an extent where it is difficult to distinguish between cheating and poor quoting behavior. This has led them to postulate a new classification within validity and reliability – knowledge validity and reliability. They argue that electronic delivery and assessment have not changed their core structures, but rather require revised education and training for both staff and students.
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What is validity and reliability in e-learning and assessment? To answer this question, we shall first provide an introduction to the broad conceptual structure that defines reliability and validity in educational assessment. We will then be in a position to begin the process of mapping this structure into the evolving world of e-learning. We shall attempt to illustrate key points through case studies from real world teaching issues so that the ideas being presented do not stand in theoretical isolation. We shall also introduce the ideas presented by a small sample of teachers who were interviewed in developing the chapter.

At the core of what we shall present is the idea that e-learning, in its many forms and definitions, has created an environment where reliability and validity need to be updated from the traditional thinking. Very few Higher Education (HE) institutions have any formal requirement that staff establish the reliability and validity of their assessments. With the advent of the electronic environment, there has been a pragmatic concern for validity through the plagiarism issue. We shall explore this.

Validity and reliability need to have a context within a technology enhanced assessment environment. We argue that this is best done through basic socio-technical thinking, for the simple reason that this emphasizes the importance of the interaction between the human and technical components in the educational system. Additionally, it reinforces the need to understand the transactions that take place between system elements. We will show that this helps us develop a future oriented approach to reliability and validity in e-learning systems.

Staff Reflectiona

One particularly revealing comment about the effect that e-learning has had upon assessment validity is that “conventional take away assignments bleed too much” (in the internet environment). The respondent was concerned that validity almost completely disappears once you let a student walk away with an assignment. Not only do students seek help from on-line articles (“googling the answer” is a widely understood phrase amongst e-learning students), but they also seek the services of third party “assignment sub-contractors”, who often advertise on the web, and who are almost untraceable in terms of identifying the real authors.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Gary Poole
Christine Spratt, Paul Lajbcygier
Chapter 1
Selby Markham, John Hurt
Reliability and validity have a well-established place in the development and implementation of educational assessment devices. With the advent of... Sample PDF
Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment
Chapter 2
Päivi Hakkarainen, Tarja Saarelainen, Heli Ruokamo
In this chapter the authors report on the assessment framework and practices that they applied to the e-learning version of the Network Management... Sample PDF
Assessing Teaching and Students' Meaningful Learning Processes in an E-Learning Course
Chapter 3
Charlotte Brack
Within the notion of Web 2.0, social software has characteristics that make it particularly relevant to ELearning, aligning well with a social... Sample PDF
Collaborative E-Learning Using Wikis: A Case Report
Chapter 4
Mike Hobbs, Elaine Brown, Marie Gordon
This chapter provides an introduction to learning and teaching in the virtual world Second Life (SL). It focuses on the nature of the environment... Sample PDF
Learning and Assessment with Virtual Worlds
Chapter 5
Paul White, Greg Duncan
This chapter describes innovative approaches to E-Learning and related assessment, driven by a Faculty Teaching and Learning Technologies Committee... Sample PDF
A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices
Chapter 6
Christine Armatas, Bernard Colbert
Two challenges with online assessment are making sure data collected is secure and authenticating the data source. The first challenge relates to... Sample PDF
Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment
Chapter 7
Robyn Benson
This chapter addresses some issues relating to the use of e-learning tools and environments for implementing peer assessment. It aims to weigh up... Sample PDF
Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning
Chapter 8
Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
This chapter presents recent research on group assessment in an e-learning environment as an avenue to debate contemporary issues in the design of... Sample PDF
The Validity of Group Marks as a Proxy for Individual Learning in E-Learning Settings
Chapter 9
Robert S. Friedman, Fadi P. Deek, Norbert Elliot
In order to offer a unified framework for the empirical assessment of e-learning (EL), this chapter presents findings from three studies conducted... Sample PDF
Validation of E-Learning Courses in Computer Science and Humanities: A Matter of Context
Chapter 10
Richard Tucker, Jan Fermelis, Stuart Palmer
There is considerable evidence of student scepticism regarding the purpose of team assignments and high levels of concern for the fairness of... Sample PDF
Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Self-and-Peer Assessment Tool for E-Learning Environments
Chapter 11
Andrew Sanford, Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
A differential item functioning analysis is performed on a cohort of E-Learning students undertaking a unit in computational finance. The motivation... Sample PDF
Identifying Latent Classes and Differential Item Functioning in a Cohort of E-Learning Students
Chapter 12
Christine Armatas, Anthony Saliba
A concern with E-Learning environments is whether students achieve superior or equivalent learning outcomes to those obtained through traditional... Sample PDF
Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods?
Chapter 13
Thomas C. Reeves, John G. Hedberg
Evaluation falls into the category of those often neglected human practices such as exercise and eating right. All of us involved in education or... Sample PDF
Evaluation Strategies for Open and Distributed Learning Environments
Chapter 14
Madhumita Bhattacharya
This chapter presents a description and analysis of salient issues related to the development of an integrated e-portfolio application implemented... Sample PDF
Introducing Integrated E-Portfolio Across Courses in a Postgraduate Program in Distance and Online Education
Chapter 15
John LeBaron, Carol Bennett
Teachers and designers of computer-networked settings increasingly acknowledge that active learner engagement poses unique challenges, especially... Sample PDF
Practical Strategies for Assessing the Quality of Collaborative Learner Engagement
Chapter 16
Som Naidu
Many teachers commonly use assessment as the starting point of their teaching activities because they believe that assessment drives learning and... Sample PDF
Afterword: Learning-Centred Focus to Assessment Practices
About the Contributors