Assessing understanding of complex learning outcomes and real-world skills using an authentic software tool: a study from Biomedical Sciences

Dermo, John and Boyne, James (2014) Assessing understanding of complex learning outcomes and real-world skills using an authentic software tool: a study from Biomedical Sciences. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 8 (1). pp. 101-112.

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Abstract

We describe a study conducted during 2009-12 into innovative assessment practice, evaluating an assessed coursework task on a final year Medical Genetics module for Biomedical Science undergraduates. An authentic e-assessment coursework task was developed, integrating objectively marked online questions with an online DNA sequence analysis tool (BLAST), routinely used by NHS and research professionals. The aim was to combine the assessment of understanding of complex module learning outcomes with real-world authentic skills highly valued in the work place. This approach challenges the oft-heard accusation that online computer-marked tests can lack validity and authenticity in higher education. The study demonstrates the content and construct validity of this form of e-assessment, showing that careful question design, allied with integration with the real life BLAST tool, enables instructors to assess complex higher order understanding, and requires students to demonstrate skills relevant for the work place. A study of three years of test results and measures of internal consistency data also show the reliability of this assessment. In addition, the results of surveys of student opinion and positive feedback from student module feedback questionnaires suggest that it is effective in terms of face validity.

Keywords
Authentic assessment; technology enhanced assessment; assessing deeper learning.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Practitioner Research in Higher Education
Publisher: University of Cumbria
ISSN: 1755-1382
Related URL(s):
Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Institute of Education
Pre 2016 Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Research
Depositing User: Linda Shore
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 08:25
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 13:50
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1495

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