Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Study of Perceptional Typologies on Computer Based Assessment (CBA): Instructor and Student Perspectives

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Study of Perceptional Typologies on Computer Based Assessment (CBA): Instructor and Student Perspectives

Article excerpt

Introduction

Student assessment is considered an integral part of the learning process, which can be used for learning evaluation, student motivation and grading, and program adaptation (Emmanouilidou et al., 2012). The application of supporting technologies such as computer based assessment (henceforth referred to as "CBA") has mainly been used in a blended learning environment in order to assess student learning, as well as to enhance students' self-directed learning (McBain, 2001). CBA has become a crucial aspect of overall assessment strategy as well as blended learning for students (Waddell et al., 2012). The rationale for this strategy is that CBA increases and improves student's participation and attendance (Marriotte & Lau, 2008). Therefore, the application of CBA to various learning environments, and the issues involved with doing so, are the subject of much discussion.

CBA offers enormous prospects for innovation in learning, testing, and assessment such as self-evaluation, useful feedback, space and time flexibility, and multimedia usage. Paper based formative assessments are currently complementing, or have already been replaced by innovative and powerful CBA instruments these days (McDowell, 2002). Despite the numerous benefits just listed, paper-based evaluation is still commonly used in contemporary learning environments. (Hole-Elders et al., 2008). The enhancement of CBA will positively influence teaching effectiveness; therefore, diversified efforts should be made to establish CBA in the learning environment.

Despite many studies on the application or effectiveness of CBA, research on users' perspectives toward CBA is still inadequate. CBA has been evaluated from the instructor's perspective in the existing literature (e.g., Magliano and Graesser, 2012; McKenna, 2001), but research into learners' viewpoints about CBA is limited. The effective development of CBA depends on both instructors' and students' acceptance. Consequently, there is a need for a more formal approach to understanding the perceptional perspectives of instructors and learners with CBA. The purpose of this paper is to first analyze the learners' perceptional typology regarding CBA. In other words, this study purposes to investigate and categorize the learner's perception of CBA, ultimately investigating the learner's particular typology with regard to CBA. Secondarily, the perception of professors and instructors who are currently conducting CBA was analyzed to investigate their perceptional typologies and compare the differences between instructors and learners. With the aim of providing a typological analysis of users' perspectives, this study used Q methodology to identify different viewpoints on CBA.

Originally evolving from factor-analytic theory, Q methodology combines aspects of both qualitative and quantitative research traditions as a way to study the subjectivity involved in any situation (e.g., Kim, 2012). This method is ideal for deeply exploring areas of complex perceptions or opinions. Participants are asked to sort and rank a sample of statements concerning the subject of research (i.e., Q sorting). Then, the Q sorts are correlated and factor analyzed, resulting in different types that are qualitatively interpreted, providing accounts of understandings of the subject (Brown, 1980).

The result of this study partially contributes to the effective application of CBA when designing classes, as well as offering benefits on research objectives and settings. This study was conducted on full-time students taking blended learning courses and instructors actually performing CBA at a regular university, excluding part-time students who are taking 100% online courses.

Literature review

What CBA is

CBA utilizes computer technology, including the Web for assessing student learning (Bull & McKenna, 2000) and provides flexibility in style and content with reduced tutor dependency (Boud, 2000). …

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