On-line formative assessment item banking and learning support
conference contributionposted on 23.05.2006, 10:19 by Sarah Maughan, David Peet, Alan Willmott
Access to the Internet now makes it possible to deliver new services to centres around the world including on-line formative assessments for use in the classroom. The results of these assessments provide information that can feed back into the learning and teaching process to highlight where improvements can be made. This can be a productive tool in improving student learning and has significant potential to provide a richer educational experience. For this potential to be developed, large item banks containing questions with known operating characteristics are required so that valid and reliable assessments can be built. Questions can be stored as assessing particular learning outcomes, levels of attainment, skills or other features, thus allowing specific feedback to students and to their teachers indicating curriculum areas or skills in which students were relatively strong or weak. The limitations on the types of questions that can be asked on-line and marked objectively by computer limits the use that can be made of the results of on-line assessment. As a greater variation in the types of questions becomes available, so the use that may be made of the results increases. As item banks are used to build assessments for known cohorts of students and results are collated over a period of time it becomes possible to supply more meaningful feedback to the users of assessments. The use of calibrated banks, and careful data management will extend this use. The future for the Cambridge on-line assessments will be determined by the opinions of the teachers as to which forms of feedback are the most useful for themselves and their students.
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