Implementing CAA in chemistry: a case study
conference contributionposted on 2009-04-15, 13:48 authored by Emilia Bertolo, Glenis Lambert
Computer aided assessment (CAA) was implemented in the level 1 module Skills for Forensics Investigators; the assignment was focused on several chemistry concepts. The aim was to provide students with rapid feedback, while trying to enhance their engagement with the subject; reducing the lecturer’s marking load was perceived as an added bonus. The CAA system used was Perception from Question Mark Computing; the assessment comprised two components, one formative and one summative. The formative test could be accessed at any time, and provided feedback that sought to guide further learning; the summative component had no feedback and could only be taken once. From the lecturer’s perspective, the experience was very positive. The initial time invested preparing the assessment was considerable; however, that time was used in a creative way (designing the assignment) as opposed to a conventional paper based assessment, in which the time would be spent in routine marking. A total of 83 students, 94% of the students for that module, participated in the assessment process, suggesting that the use of technology did not prevent students from taking the assignment. Student evaluation was gathered via anonymous on-line questionnaires; 38.5 % of all the students involved in the assessment (32 students) answered the evaluation survey. Results indicate that the CAA system has made a positive impact upon the students’ learning experience. This assessment raised some issues regarding students’ “last minute” working practices. Students who left the test until the last minute and who experienced difficulties were dealt with individually, but this is an aspect which needs to be resolved through clear regulations rather than on an ad-hoc basis. Overall, the experience has proven very positive for both staff and students. The success of this assignment has led to improved communication with the students on the nature of their online assessment.
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