HOW ALLOWING STUDENTS INPUT INTO THE DESIGN OF A COURSE EVALUATION SCHEME AFFECTS LEARNING STRATEGIES, MOTIVATION, OUTCOMES AND STUDENT ATTITUDES
This paper presents the results of a pedagogical experiment that attempts to encourage self-directed learning by permitting students to participate in designing their own evaluation schemes. Allowing for flexibility in the grading system is intended to increase students’ feelings of self-efficacy and emotional commitment to the learning process. Instructors in an intermediate accounting class permitted each student individually to choose the weights he or she wished to allocate to each course component (including assignments, class participation, the midterm and the final examination). The learning strategies, motivations, outcomes and attitudes of students in the experimental group are compared with those in a control group, who experienced a traditional, non-flexible grading scheme that was determined by the instructor. We use the Multiple Learning Styles Questionnaire (MLSQ) to measure learning strategies and motivations and conduct a survey of students’ attitudes towards the course evaluation system. Our results indicate no improvement in motivation, outcomes, or attitudes when students design and commit to their own evaluation schemes at the beginning of the course. However, a flexible grading scheme that allows students to choose their weight allocations at the end of the course significantly improves students’ learning outcomes and attitudes towards the course assessment scheme.