Stimulating higher education students to use voluntary online exercises: the case of two mid-term take-home tests
Blondeel, E., Everaert, P., and Opdecam, E. (2021). Stimulating higher education students to use online formative assessments: the case of two mid-term take-home tests. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2021.1908516
This study investigates whether two mid-term take-home tests are a successful tool to increase student use of online formative assessments (OFAs). OFAs are defined as voluntary online exercises with automatic grading and immediate feedback. Students can use this supplementary learning tool at any time or place during the semester, without influencing the student course grades. A between-subjects quasi-experiment was administered in an introductory financial accounting course. All students had access to the voluntary OFAs. In addition, two mandatory intermediate (mid-term) tests were available for students in the experimental group. No intermediate tests were administered in the control group.
Results show that more students begin using OFA when intermediate tests are introduced. In addition, students use OFA more intensively. Many more OFAs are completed when two mid-term take-home tests are implemented. Next, the number of students who use OFA early in the semester is higher when intermediate tests are implemented, along with the number of mid-semester starters and late starters. Further, users of OFA benefit in terms of performance compared to non-users, even when considering the positive effect of introducing mandatory intermediate tests.
Providing structure in both online and blended learning is of tremendous importance. These results ratify this crucial conclusion and provide instructors with recommendations on how to successfully implement intermediate tests.
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