Traditional versus Computer-Mediated Approaches of Teaching Educational Measurement

Article excerpt

Research suggests that to adequately prepare teachers for the task of classroom assessment, attention should be given to the educational measurement instruction. In addition, the literature indicates that the use of computer-mediated instruction has the potential to affect student knowledge, skills, and attitudes. This study compared the effects of a traditional face-to-face instruction of an undergraduate level educational measurement course to a computer-mediated instruction on academic course performance, educational measurement knowledge, skills, and attitudes of teacher education students (N = 51) at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, using a posttest-only control group design. Results revealed statistically significant group differences favoring the computer-mediated instruction. Implications and recommendations for educational measurement instruction and research are discussed.

Educational Measurement Instruction

Assessment of student's learning is one of the many job responsibilities of teachers (Mertler, 2003). It has been estimated that teachers spend up to a half of their professional time in classroom assessment activities (Plake, 1993). Appropriate implementation of these activities requires strong knowledge and skills in and positive attitudes toward educational measurement (Alkharusi, Kazem, & Al-Musawi, 2008; Popham, 2006). Unfortunately, many students enrolled in educational measurement course encounter difficulties. They view the course as less relevant to their prospective profession as teachers, expect it to be difficult, and often try to avoid taking it for as long as possible (Bryant & Barnes, 1997; Hills, 1991; Kottke, 2000; VanZile-Tamsen & Boes, 1997). As might be expected, this situation may result in negative attitudes and poor course performance (Alkharusi, 2009). In addition, studies investigating classroom assessment literacy and practices have repeatedly expressed a concern about teachers' knowledge and skills in educational measurement (e.g., Alkharusi et al., 2008; McMillan, Myran, & Workamn, 2002; Mertler, 1999, 2003). These difficulties imply that to adequately prepare teachers for the task of classroom assessment, attention should be given to the educational measurement instruction. The present study aimed at investigating the comparative effects of a traditional face-to-face instruction and a computer-mediated instruction on educational measurement academic course performance, knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

When reviewing the literature related to educational measurement, we found only one study that specifically focused on educational measurement instruction, and that this study is outdated. Muller (1974) developed instructional materials to enable students to take a graduate level educational measurement course by self-instruction. Results indicated that students in the self-instructional section performed as well as did students in the lecture-discussion section on unit exams. Also, most of the students were very satisfied with the self-instructional experience and the self-instructional materials.

In 1990, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and the National Education Association (NEA) jointly developed Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessment of Students. These standards are intended to guide the preparation of teachers in educational measurement (AFT, NCME, & NEA, 1990). The standards hold that teachers should be skilled in choosing and developing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions; administering, scoring, and interpreting results of externally- and teacher-produced assessment methods; using assessment results in making decisions for individual students, planning teaching, developing curriculum, and making school improvements; developing valid assessment-based procedures; communicating assessment results to students, parents, and other audiences; and recognizing methods and uses of assessments that are unethical, illegal, or otherwise inappropriate. …