Overcoming The Challenges Of e-Assessments In 5 Simple Steps

How To Overcome The Challenges Of e-Assessments In 5 Simple Steps

According to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2010), assessment is one of the most relevant parts of the instructional process, and not just a matter of marking (Guàrdia, Crisp & Alsina, 2016). Technology has promoted changes in how curricula might be designed and delivered online, but the challenges of e-assessments require new approaches. Some studies developed by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the UK pointed out that there are interesting innovations in assessment methods being performed in limited circles, but these have not yet been transferred to a larger scale.

These studies highlight that ICT expands the potential of evaluation, especially supporting and monitoring students’ learning processes, and designing an assessment and feedback lifecycle that consists of asking questions and stimulating thought and reflection about learning.

What Are The Main Challenges Of e-Assessments?

One of the concerns is about how much time educators have to dedicate to coming up with evaluation strategies to stimulate and guide competence development, rather than just assigning a final grade.

ICT can help us follow up the learning process, but relatively few teachers are introducing new tools to manage and enhance assessment methodologies. Sometimes the problem is more related to how time consuming the process is, rather than a lack of knowledge of how to manage the tools.

It is also important to add that it is difficult to move past the long tradition of assessment strategies based more on exams and tests that measure part of the competences developed and sometimes the least relevant part. Assessing the process calls for commitment from both sides, teachers and students, and other tools are required. evaluation tool

Source: Simon Kneebone

Higher-level cognitive and affective skills cannot readily be assessed using traditional assessment strategies and more authentic e-assessments are being proposed (Kuh, Jankowski, Ikenberry, & Kinzie 2014; Crisp, Guàrdia & Hillier, 2016). In fact, most of the existing e-assessment experiments do not consider the adoption of user-centered approaches. e-Assessment has attracted increasing interest due to an awareness among the educational community of the need to adequately assess 21st-century skills, competences, and abilities.

And feedback, one of the most important key issues related to assessment, is not optional; it should be compulsory for all teachers to provide students with relevant information during the learning process, monitoring, guiding, and giving continuous support as a formative activity. The greatest challenge, however, is to encourage students to use that feedback to transform their learning, i.e., feedforward. “With feedforward, ideas for improvement come from the very person being asked to change, increasing the odds that change will occur.” (Hirsch, 2016)

One of the most difficult challenges of e-assessments is how to implement them in a MOOC. In this case, the assessment design should explicitly mention the value of peer feedback; building trust and capacity in self and peer assessment can be addressed by defining the objectives using precise criteria and providing student examples, as well as tools like rubrics, scales and explanatory automatic answers to support learners. More details can be found in the article MOOC design principles from the learner’s perspective (Guàrdia, Maina & Sangrà, 2013).

How To Overcome These Challenges Of e-Assessments In 5 Simple Steps?

To enhance e-assessments and implement them successfully, we need to understand how ICT can be used to improve assessment experiences, provide evidence of higher-level learning, and explore its institutional and pedagogic dimensions while addressing sustainability and cultural issues (Guàrdia, Cris & Alsina, 2016).

To meet this challenge we recommend considering the following steps when designing e-assessments:

1. Instructional Design.

Integrating the e-assessment into the entire learning process as part of the course design. It is important to measure how people learn and not just what they have learnt. It is an ongoing process that should be assessed continuously, and Instructional Design can help teachers to plan how and when to do it. At the same time, Instructional Design can help teachers choose the right assessment methods, strategies, and technologies to enhance learning.

2. Variety Of Methods.

Use different assessment methods and activities to measure different processes and outcomes, coming from different learning styles, such as: Multiple-choice questions-MCQ, ePortfolio assessment, concept maps, clickers, or personal response systems - PRCS, online role-plays, scenario-based activities, judged mathematical expression, online discussions, etc.

3.Technologies Enhance Assessments.

Use ICT to follow up the learning process: Build tools to monitor and support, to assess a large number of students; design scales and rubrics to be used as self-assessment; peer-review and teacher evaluation. Select technologies that support alternative assessment strategies and allow evidence of higher-level learning to be collected.

4. Evidence-Based Learning.

Use evidence-based learning strategies as an assessment approach. Using ePortfolios, scenario-based activities, role-paying, and simulations can provide evidence of learning. The European Network of ePortfolio Experts and Practitioners (EPNET) on the Europortfolio Portal present examples and guidance to implement ePortfolio as an assessment strategy.

5. Feedback And Feedforward.

Learners need substantial, regular, and meaningful feedback (OECD, 2010) and e-assessment strategies offer a systematic format for providing this. The feedback can be personalized and provided by different actors (self, peers, teachers, professional actors, etc.). Feedback should be used to improve learning, and not given as a final activity, informing the students about a final mark; by promoting dialogical feedback and feedforward, assessment will make more sense than ever: It will encourage learners to modify, complement, and improve their learning. In fact, self-regulated learning should be applied if we want sustainable assessment, especially for a large number of students.

Final Thoughts

Effective teachers recognize the importance of engaging their students in learning; this is why it is necessary to implement relevant technologies for assessments to make learning applicable to modern students, who are becoming more digital and competence-based to meet the demand for future jobs. In this regard, teacher training is crucial to meet this challenge.

There is an urgent need to convince educational stakeholders of the effectiveness and appropriateness of using technologies for assessment purposes. Learning and teaching strategies based on ICT assessment, supported by Instructional Design, should choose e-assessment methods that promote alternative solutions and encourage experimentation through peer-assessment and self-regulated learning using different media and communication formats.