THREE SEMESTERS OF ONLINE ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION FROM STUDENTS’ VIEWPOINT
Juraj Dobrila University of Pula (CROATIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:One of the greatest challenges of the online education during COVID-19 pandemic was – how to assess students’ achievement of the foreseen learning outcomes. After the first semester that switched to online variant at the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula (Croatia), we examined, and then reported about, the employed assessment methods. We also wanted to know how students compared online and the usual face-to-face assessment procedures. Our findings showed that the used online learning platforms had served the assessment purposes to a satisfactory level, enabling teachers to keep methods that were highly similar to the usual face-to-face practice. Students identified as the most accentuated disadvantage of online assessment – a higher level of triggered stress related to oral/performing and shorter written exams. We argued that it happened due to the unexpected circumstances and a lack of both teachers’ and students’ gradual preparation. Then two more online semesters followed, which gave students a possibility to better adjust and teachers an opportunity to further evaluate their assessment methods, and, if necessary, improve them and/or change the intensity of their use. So the objective of this research was to determine consistencies and changes over three semesters of online education in:
1) the used assessment methods and in
2) students’ experience of online vs. face-to-face assessment.
The research comprised three studies. The first study was conducted in June 2020 after the first semester of online education. It included 272 university students. The second took place in February 2021, after the second consecutive online semester and it gathered 339 students. The third study encompassed 235 students and was performed in June 2021, after the last semester delivered online. In the online applied questionnaires students were asked what types of assessment they had encountered and how intensely they had been administered. They also compared online and face-to-face assessment against eight criteria. Obtained results showed that shorter written assessments and oral/performing assessments had become more used in courses over the time, while longer written assessments had been implemented in fewer courses. In all three online delivered semesters the oral/performing assessment was most frequently carried out via Big Blue Button platform, while Moodle platform most frequently hosted the written assessments. Both of these platforms became even more used over the three semesters. However, the use of Zoom increased fastest, while Skype and other platforms were used rarer over the time. Regardless of the length of exposure to oral/performing online assessment, students estimated it as more stressful than the usual face-to-face variant, while in other features they valued it as more similar than different. As online assessment persisted, students got the impression that written assessments, both shorter and longer forms, checked knowledge slightly easier but took longer time for getting feedback. As online education continued, students also found longer written assessment as less stressful. It can be concluded that students estimate elongated use of online assessment as consistent in many ways, with few changes. It may be that they have become more adjusted to such type of evaluation, but also that teachers recognised the implemented methods as rather efficient for estimating the achievement of the learning outcomes.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, exams, face-to-face assessment, online learning platforms, prolonged exposure.