One of the primary goals of formative assessment is to give informative feedback to the learner on their progress and attainment of the learning objectives. However, when the student/tutor ratios are large, effective and timely feedback is hard to achieve. Many testing systems have been developed that use multiple choice questions (MCQ), which are easy to mark automatically. MCQ tests are simple to develop and administer through Web-based technologies (browsers, Internet and Web servers). One of the principal drawbacks of current systems is that the testing format is limited to MCQ and general questions requiring free responses are not included because marking cannot be easily automated. Consequently, many learning tasks, such as the correctness and style of solutions to programming problems, cannot be assessed automatically. Our approach is a hybrid system combining MCQ testing with free response questions. Our system, OASYS, marks MCQs automatically and then controls the anonymous distribution of completed scripts amongst learners for peer assessment of free response answers. We briefly describe the design and implementation of OASYS, which is built on freely available technologies. We present and discuss findings from a case study which used OASYS for 240 students taking a programming class involving four assessed programming laboratories in groups of approximately forty student
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