Ensuring Quality of a Large-Scale Online Assessment for Nursing Students in the 21st Century: A Case Study

Ensuring Quality of a Large-Scale Online Assessment for Nursing Students in the 21st Century: A Case Study

Emily Ng K.L. (School of Professional and Continuing Education, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong & Hong Kong Community College, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJAET.2020070104


The resources and time constraints of assessing large classes are always weighed up against the validity, reliability, and learning outcomes of the assessment tasks. With the digital revolution in the 21st Century, educators can benefit from computer technology to carry out a large-scale assessment in higher education more efficiently. In this article, an in-depth case study of a nursing school that has integrated online assessment initiatives into their nursing program. To assess a large class of first-year nursing students, a series of non-proctored multiple-choice online quizzes are administered using a learning management system. Validity and reliability are commonly used to measure the quality of an assessment. The aim of the present article to analyze these non-proctored multiple-choice online assessments in the context of content validity and reliability. We use this case study to examine online assessment in nursing education, exploring the benefits and challenges. We conclude that instructors have to determine how to use the full potential of online assessment as well as ensure validity and reliability.
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The online assessment is witnessing significant change. This is brought about by rapid technological developments and shifts in the students’ learning and instructors’ work. For institutions, online assessment is particularly attractive as an assessment tool because of the standardized marking, collating data for quality assurance and cost-effectiveness of accommodating large student cohort (Thorne et al., 2015; Guàrdia et al., 2017). For instructors, they can access both students’ individual and class reports of the assessment once the assessment ends. Instructors could get a better picture of the progress of students in a large cohort and identify their strengths and weaknesses at an early stage (Secolsky & Denison, 2017). Then follow-up action can be taken to students with learning problems. Moreover, the computer-marking online assessment can save time and resources (Dermo, 2007). It is particularly useful for classes of large size (JISC, 2007; Thorne et al., 2015). It can add value and allow instructors to make more productive use of their time (JISC, 2010). Assessing students is an important aspect of the teaching and learning cycle (Hall, 2018). One of the main objectives of a nursing curriculum is to motivate students and promote student-centered learning (Bern et al., 2017). The online assessment is designed to promote student-centered learning and give information about their progress. Theonline assessment system makes the result delivered and gives detailed feedback upon completion of test (Davis et al., 2013; Crisp, Guàrdia, & Hillier, 2016). The online assessment system can offer timely and constructive feedback which is crucial to successful learning (Guo et al., 2014; Hall, 2018). These advantages, however, must be weighed against the disadvantages of the online assessment.

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