E-Assessment as a Learning Tool

E-Assessment as a Learning Tool

Reggie Kwan (Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong), Kenneth Wong (Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong), Philip Tsang (The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Francis Yu (Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-380-7.ch007
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Using virtual and physical resources to enhance learning and teaching is the cornerstone of Hybrid Learning. This chapter deals with how an online assessment system, as part of a hybrid learning initiative, can be used for learning and not just assessment. A system has been built based on the Item Response Theory (IRT) model. The system helps teachers to gauge the competency level of each individual student and at the same time provides students with feedback and an individualized study path right after a sequence of multiple choice questions attempted by each student.
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Gauging students’ learning progress is an integral part of learning and teaching. Various forms of conventional assessment seem happen in every course at every level. With the advances in Web technology, this task has been done through web-based discussion board in higher education (Lui, Kwan & Lai, 2004) and online assignment submission system (Ng, etc., 2006), for example. The migration to web-based teaching and learning has been an ongoing process since the mid-90’s (Kwan, 2005; Kwan, 2001; and Kwan & Wong, 2001). We believe that web-based education has the potential not only to provide savings in time and money, but, more importantly, it’s flexibility and convenience may also revolutionize the way to live and play. Assessment for learning can be one of the ways of improving learning by gauging students’ competency, e-assessment should be an integral part of any e-learning system. As a matter of fact, the Curriculum Development Council published a report entitled “Learning to learn: The Way Forward in Curriculum Development” in 2001 to urge schools to put more emphasis on assessment for learning (CDC, 2001). It is a process in which teachers seek to identify and diagnose student learning problems, and provide quality feedback for students on how to improve their work.

Assessments in any form are, however, not viewed favorably by students. The conventional paper and pencil tests are still the most common form of assessment in Hong Kong. Students are bound by the restricting time and place. Thus, having assessment through the web is appealing to say the least. The process, on the other hand, may not be an easy task and not all assessments can easily be turned into a learning tool (Kwan & Wong, 2001).

Owing to the nature of Mathematics, quite a number of digital learning materials have been developed for learning and teaching. This is especially true at the primary and secondary level because multiple choice format tests if designed probably can not only gauge students’ competency level, but also detect students’ misconception on the topic being tested. That is why creating a learning platform through the use of assessment is nothing novel. However, most online assessment systems do not provide immediate feedback or recommend study path to make use of the assessed result to help students learn. We are building an online assessment system to enhance learning by helping teachers teach Mathematics from Secondary 1 to 3 (Key Stage 3) in Hong Kong. The system is built based on the concept domain model and the Rasch model (Linacre, 2000; Keeves & Alagumalai, 1999; and Umar, 1997). The two integrated models are used for providing adapting features to students, such as, navigation support, optimal study path and direct guidance.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Item Response Theory (IRT) Model: A mathematical model to objectively measure the abilities or attitude based on responses to questions.

Computer Adaptive Test (CAT): A method that gauges the level of ability of the examinee based on the responses and decides to level of difficult of the next question until the ability of the examinee converges. It is sometimes called tailored testing.

E-Assessment: The use of Information and Communication Technology in any assessment activities.

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