THE UNEXPECTED RESULTS ON STUDENT INCENTIVES OF A CHANGE IN THE CONTINUOUS ASSESSMENT
1 University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
2 KSNET (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The aim of this project is to analyse the impact on student performance of the change in the evaluation criteria in the course Principles of Taxation (taught at the Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration at the University of Barcelona) during the 2014/2015 academic year. The main change introduced in the evaluation system consisted in an overall course grade determined as the maximum between the grade obtained at the final exam or a weighted average of the final exam (60%) plus the continuous assessment (40%), whereas in the previous year the mark was determined as the weighted average of the final exam (60%) and the continuous assessment (40%) with the possibility of having a lower mark due to the continuous assessment (CA). Hence, the changed was introduced in order the CA not to harm students’ final results. The CA was composed by two multiple choice midterms undertaken during the course. We use data from the previous year (2013/2014) and the first year of the implementation (2014/2015). We focus on the number of students that passed, failed and drop; and the marks obtained in each exam. One of the main results found is that the distribution of the marks during the year before the implementation follows a normal distribution while the distribution of the year of the implementation becomes a bimodal distribution with a new bump around a mark of 2 (over 10). This evidence suggests that the new evaluation criteria gives less incentives to students to undertake a good performance during the continuous assessment, as they still have the possibility to do better in the final exam and obtain that mark as a final grade. Because of that, students who obtained a lower grade in the first midterm of the CA decided not to take the second one or they did it obtaining even a lower mark. These results are also analysed for varying percentiles of the grade distribution. Moreover, we also compare the grades of students in the final exams for the two academic years (pre and post reform). We distinguish between a mechanical effect (higher marks in the final exam due to the fact that the CA does not reduce the final mark of the student) and a behavioural effect by applying the new assessment criteria to the students of the year before the change to observe what would have happened in their results. By doing this, we capture the differential behavioural effects in the two years that apply different rules of evaluation. To sum up, students evaluations is one of the most important aspects of education, the results have an important impact in the future career of the students. In light of that, both students and professors can learn from the design itself of the evaluation process and improve not only the evaluation system but also the learning process of students. Therefore it is very important to observe, quantify and understand the variation occurred when the continuous assessment is changed.
Keywords: Continous Assessment, Behavioural Responses, Incentives.