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Learning support for mature, part-time, evening students: providing feedback via frequent, computer-based assessments

By Glenn K. Baggott and Richard C. Rayne


A new module in our first year Biology curriculum was used as a vehicle to test\ud strategies for improving learning support. To this end, we have administered frequent CBA, incorporating extensive feedback, both to pace the students’ study efforts and to pinpoint areas in which additional help from lecturers may be required.\ud Three of the 7 CBA provided through the 15-week course were initially given as\ud open-book summative tests, thus contributing to the overall mark for the module. Other CBA were formative: these included repeats of the summative CBA made available for revision purposes, as well as other CBA which focused mainly on aspects of the course that were summatively assessed by other means. A closedbook final exam, also computer-based, was given in the final week as a comprehensive assessment. We have evaluated the utility and effectiveness of our approach by surveying student opinion via questionnaires, examining patterns and extent of student use of formative assessments, and by analysing grades for the summative CBA. We have found the students’ perceptions of the approach to be largely positive and that the formative CBA were well-used, especially as revision aids for the final exam. Our analysis further indicates that the style of the assessments may have been especially helpful to students whose first language is not English

Topics: bcs
Publisher: Learning and Teaching Development, Loughborough University
Year: 2001
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