ASSESSMENT PREFERENCES AND APPROACHES TO LEARNING OF MBA AND MPA STUDENTS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY

J. Kwan

Lancaster University (UNITED KINGDOM)
This pilot study seeks to examine the educational goals, learning approach, and assessment preferences among the part-time MBA and MPA students in Singapore. The quantitative study uses a questionnaire that employed the revised two-factor study process questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F) to identify students approach to learning, and the adapted Assessment Preference Inventory (API) to examine students’ preferences to different assessment types/tasks. The sample comprises of 101 students (55 MBA and 36 MPA) from various age groups, of which 57 are male students.

The results of this study showed that educational goals relating to career advancement/enhancement and improved knowledge and skills were the key motivational factors that lead students pursuing postgraduate studies. When comes to approaches to learning, students generally adopting a deep learning approach, especially among the MPA students and the older students. This approach to learning was also evident in the assessment preference among the respondents, where they preferred assessments that required higher order level of thinking such as problem solving and application of materials learnt during the course to the new situations. When comes to the five assessment types, respondents have strong preference for individual assignment and showed least preference for exam. However, there was no significant difference in the preference for any of the five assessment items/format among gender and age groups.

The findings in this study will be beneficial for the university to consider to redesign the curriculum for both programs to suit the needs of existing students as well as to increase its appeal to prospective students. The respondents’ views on their learning approach and assessment preferences will allow instructors and module leaders to relook into the teaching pedagogy and current assessment structure in order to improve students’ learning experience.