Student Learning with Performance-Based, In-Class and Learner-Centered, Online ExamsReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, v20 n3 p383-394 2009

The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of students with performance-based, in-class and learner-centered, online assessment and the effects of these formats on comprehensive exam scores in an educational psychology course required of participants in a teacher education program. In our quantitative analysis, we investigated the effects of in-class and online exams on undergraduate students' performance on an in-class comprehensive final (n=141). Students were randomly assigned by course section to take one proctored exam in-class and two other unit exams online in a learner-centered format. At the end of the course, students in all sections took a proctored comprehensive final, consisting of a series of multiple choice questions closely aligned with questions from the unit exams. No significant differences were found between content items initially assessed utilizing the traditional, in-class format and the learner-centered online format. In our qualitative analysis, students in one of the six sections (n=22) were selected to participate in open-ended interviews. A phenomenological method was used to collect and analyze responses to the question: When thinking about your experiences with both the in-class exam and Blackboard exams in [course name], what stands out for you? Findings from our qualitative analysis resulted in separate yet balanced themes for participants' perceptions of in-class and online exams. For both categories of themes, the constructs of stress, control, and knowing stood out for participants. Implications of this research project are discussed in relation to the use of learner-centered assessment. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)

Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Teacher Education Programs, Educational Psychology, Tests, Computer Assisted Testing, Performance Based Assessment, Higher Education, Teacher Education, Educational Technology

International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning. Web site:

Author: Greenberg, Katherine; Lester, Jessica N.; Evans, Kathy; Williams, Michele; Hacker, Carolyn; Halic, Olivia


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