A. Brilingaitė, L. Bukauskas

Vilnius University (LITHUANIA)
A rapid growth of information technologies (IT) in the nowadays' world raises the high demand for IT professionals. Higher education institutions experience a pressure of the industrial partners and government to admit an increasing number of students in computer science or information technologies related study programs. Such a demand is not trivial to satisfy, and it raises some challenges that educational institutions have to overcome. Firstly, an increase in student number triggers the growth of academic and support staff and leads to higher teaching loads. Secondly, an increase of student numbers leads to large student groups, thus, possibly decreasing the quality of studies and raises tighter competition for the resources and infrastructure. Thirdly, high demand for professionals also puts at risk community as university staff has attractive possibilities in an industry to change the career path.

In 2016, Lithuanian government distinguished computer science among all the areas of physical sciences to appoint dedicated funding. The country's constitution guarantees that higher education is free for good students. Therefore, high school graduates compete for the national funding participating in the top index listing. Vilnius University has several first cycle study programs in computer science with approximate 360 intake. The current practice of the faculty is to include cumulative assessment of student skills in most study subjects.

This article presents the analysis of the cumulative assessment in the subject Database Management Systems and discusses the resulting impact on the final student achievements. The course belongs to the second year of the first cycle study program Information Technologies. The reduction experiment as a process started three years ago. The change in the assessment strategy influenced the activities of the course and the preparation of the final exam material, as the list of intended learning outcomes did not change.

The paper discusses the changes in the curricula activities, challenges, and impact on the final assessment grades over the history of several years. The results show that the decrease in the cumulative grade distinguished the motivated students and new strategy enables improvement of student-centred learning.