ADDRESSING FORMATIVE E-ASSESSMENT FOR HIGH-LEVEL COGNITIVE COURSES AT A FULLY ONLINE UNIVERSITY

E. Hettiarachchi, M.A. Huertas, E. Mor

Open University of Catalonia (SPAIN)
The main objective of this paper is to tackle the introduction of formative e-assessment on courses with a high level of skill acquirement, at a fully online university. In particular, the paper presents the overall e-assessment system on student performance in a particular course with those characteristics: a Logic course in a Computer Science degree of the Open University of Catalonia.

E-Assessment has become increasingly attractive in Higher Education where providing useful feedback to large number of students can be difficult. However, the nature of such assessment has often been limited to objective questions such as multiple choice questions (MCQ). Cognitive skills that evaluate students’ practical abilities and skills by doing a particular task cannot be assessed via those simple kinds of questions. On the other hand, practice is an important aspect when dealing with high-level cognitive skills. Formative e-assessment model, which include both practice and assessment facilities can be appropriate for cognitive skills.

In this work, formative e-assessment for skills was implemented through the proposed e-assessment system. To do that, intelligent type of questions, beyond the usual MCQ, for skill assessment were needed. Intelligent tutoring systems functionalities were introduced for this purpose.

The design process of this work follows the principles of user centred design approach. Once requirements were collected, a prototype was developed. For testing the system in a real scenario, a pilot study was carried-out in a real classroom of the online university. Results of the evaluation of both the system and the formative assessment model implemented are presented in this work. They show a positive impact on students’ performance.

The main contribution of this work is to present a system to provide formative e-assessment for cognitive skills in an online university. From the concrete experience a general e-assessment system for high-level cognitive courses at a fully online educational environment is, also, presented.