COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE ASSESMENT METHODS ON FOUR SUBJECTS OF THE DEGREE IN BIOLOGY
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
In the present context of higher education, where new challenges are foreseen in Spanish university, three main aspects have led us to reflect on the evaluation process: 1) In the new framework of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the university needs an evaluation model that assesses learning outcomes of students and expresses it in terms of knowledge acquired, skills developed and skills gained. 2) New Technologies are an asset in the new forms of teaching and will also have consequences in innovative assessment systems. 3) The evaluation must be a self-reflective practice of teaching, a quality control on what is done to help taking appropriate decisions. Evaluation should be an ongoing, systematic and planned process to provide useful, timely and reliable information on various aspects of the educational process.
In this context, the need has arisen to develop assessment models more coherent with the Convergence Process. The first step in these changes is the reflection on the present assessment practice to analyse the virtues and shortcomings of current methods.
To reflect on our own assessment methods and after a reflexive auto-criticism exercise, try to take appropriate decisions to improve the educational process in adapting to the EHEA.
Specifically, we analyze:
1. If there are differences between the marks obtained with different assessment methods.
2. If the differences above observed in point 1, depend also on other factors such as: academic year or subject.
3. If there is any correlation between the different methods used, which would indicate we are assessing the same capabilities.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We have selected 4 subjects of the degree in Biology each one taught by one teacher. The three evaluation methods analysed consist of multiple choice questions (test), writing test questions, and individual homework. The study focuses on the statistical analysis of the scores of students who were presented at the June session of three consecutive academic years (2007-2008 to 2009-2010).
Multifactorial and Single factor ANOVAs were performed on the three years data considering subject, method and year as three fixed factors. Subsequently in order to establish possible relationships between different methods we have calculated Pearson correlation coefficients, and linear regressions have been established. All statistical analysis was performed with SPSS software.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
1) The marks obtained by the students are largely dependent on the method used, but there are also other factors that influence the teaching-learning process, such as the subject and the academic year.
2) The marks obtained by the homework method are higher than those obtained by classroom tests.
3) The objective tests and writing test seem to measure the same abilities. We should analyze the design of tests in order to improve efficiency.
4) Each type of test determines different levels of information. Therefore, the use of assessment tools must change to plurality, the key to new educational strategies.
Keywords: Assesment Methods, Higher Education, EHEA, Statistical analysis.