CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT AND ACQUISITION OF SKILLS IN TEACHING FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
The arrival of new teaching methodologies in learning processes can be justified as long as it is accompanied by improved results in the students' acquisition of skills. One aspect of importance regarding grading to have come out of the adaptation to the European Higher Education Area is continuous assessment, which involves periodical testing throughout the course as a means to evaluate the whole student learning process.
This study presents an experience of using a continuous assessment system in Financial Management practicals in the subject Financial Management I of the fourth year in the degree course in Business Administration and Management at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Murcia.
An analysis was, therefore made of the results of students in the subject Financial Management I of the fourth year in the degree course in Business Administration and Management at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Murcia. The testing was carried out in the academic year 2011-12. Students were dvided into two groups: the first was those following the practicals under the traditional teaching system where the teacher lectures and with no demand on the students to solve any exercises to be developed in class beforehand, the second was made up of students who underwent continuous assessment, who were asked each week to present the solutions to their practicals. In addition, each week a group of students was randomly selected to present and to solve the practicals in the classroom. This meant that the students in the second group had to prepare and study the practicals on a weekly basis. Assessment of the first group was based exclusively on the end of semester examination, while for the second group the mark awarded was based on the mark obtained in the examination and that obtained in the continuous assessment. The same final examination was used for both groups in order to avoid any bias in the comparisons.
There was a higher percentage of passes in the traditional method group (57.58%) than in the continuous assessment group (50.00%) although the mean mark was slightly higher (4.53 out of 10) than in the traditional method group (4.22), although the differences are not statistically significant (t statistic of 0.582 for the means difference test). To check whether the better mean mark of the continuous assessment group was due to the marks obtained from the weekly grades, a comparison was also made of just the marks obtained in the common examination. The pass rate remained the same for the continuous assessment group (50%), but the mean mark was lower than the traditional method group (4.19 out of 10), but again with no statistically significant differences (t statistic for the difference in mean marks of -0.058).
In conclusion, the results do not allow us to state that the skills acquisition through continuous assessment is any better than the traditional lecture-based methodology.