STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE OF ASSESSMENT IN ONLINE HIGHER EDUCATION DURING COVID-19
Juraj Dobrila University of Pula (CROATIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Suddenly and unplanned, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020 required teaching courses pass from physical classroom to the online alternative, posing numerous didactical challenges, assessment being one of the crucial among them. As the choice of assessment methods can result in different measures of learning outcomes, the choice of the appropriate online options in a short time, became demanding as they should have conveyed reliability, validity and uniqueness. On the one hand, one of teachers’ greatest concerns was to ensure that genuine students’ knowledge and skills were assessed, and to reduce the probability of their cheating. On the other hand, teachers were aware that students needed time and effort to adapt to the new learning situation. Focussing on the unexpected and quick shift from face-to-face education to the online variant, this paper explored techniques employed in assessment of students’ achievement, as well as students’ experience with the changed circumstances in the assessment processes.
The objectives of this research were:
1) to examine the assessment methods used in the online higher education, and
2) to compare written and oral/performing online assessment methods with the usual face-to-face assessment methods, specifically depending on the level of students’ adjustment to online education.
The sample comprised 272 university students, and the questionnaire was administered online in June 2020 referring to the semester that had begun in March and ended in June. In order to explore the first objective, students were asked what types of assessment they had experienced and how vastly they had been used. To answer the second objective students compared eight features between online and face-to-face assessment. More specifically, answers were compared among three groups of students: those who reported to have not adjusted to online education; those that admitted to have had difficulties at the beginning, but mastered it; and students that had found it easy to cope from the start. Regarding the first objective, results revealed that in most courses they had written assessment, shorter written assessments being most frequently applied, followed by the longer ones, and then oral assessments. For the oral/performing assessment the most frequent platform was Big Blue Button, and for the written assessment it was Moodle. Concerning the second objective, students reported that oral/performing assessment and short-time written exams were more stressful than the usual face-to-face assessment. However, in other features they estimated that online and usual face-to-face assessment were alike: providing time, level of difficulty, easiness in checking knowledge, skills and attitudes, objectivity, and taking time to get feedback. The effect of students’ adjustment was significant in some of the comparisons of online and face-to-face assessment. To conclude, students’ experience with the shift from face-to-face to online assessment revealed that the existing online learning platforms could serve the assessment purposes to a great measure, allowing teachers to employ methods that provide many similarities with the usual face-to-face practice. The most pronounced disadvantage of online assessment was higher level of provoked stress when oral/performing and shorter written exams were implemented. It should probably be ascribed to the unexpected circumstances and a lack of teachers’ and students’ gradual preparation.
Keywords: Online and face-to-face assessment, higher education, oral assessment, written assessment, adjustment to online education.