The importance of assessment quality in higher education is emphasised by research and by practice. Looking at the research, three dimensions can be distinguished.
Figure 1. Dimensions for assessment research
Firstly, assessment quality can be evaluated on a micro level (the individual test for personalized assessment) or on a macro level (the introduction of national attainment tests in primary education). Research of the topic members contributes to assessment quality in different ways. For example, a framework for quality of assessment is given by the quality pyramid for contemporary assessment (see Figure 1). Each level of the pyramid implicates issues that influence assessment quality.
Figure 2. Framework for assessment quality (Joosten-ten Brinke, 2011; Sluijsmans, Peeters, Jakobs, & Weijzen, 2012)
The second dimension refers to the balance between assessment for learning and assessment of learning. AfL is, theoretically, strongly related to social interaction in an educational relationship between student and teachers or students themselves as well as to self-regulated learning. The research here focuses on effective methods, like rubrics, feedback or self and peer assessment. This also includes learning strategies for effective preparation for an exam (testing effect). For example, we investigate how teacher feedback is used by students in improving their writing products. In the Viewbrics project we study the effect of rubrics with video modelling examples on the quality of formative feedback and mental model formation while practicing three complex skills (collaboration, information literacy and presentation skills) and on final mastery of these skills.
Thirdly, with the increased use of technology in education paper-and-pencil testing is more often replaced by technology enhanced assessment (TEA). This allows the use of multimedia (e.g., videos, animations, etc.) and the implementation of adaptive learning (i.e., tailored to specific needs and level of the student). Research related to this dimension has various foci. From an educational perspective there are still many open questions on how to optimally design technology enhanced assessments (Jarodzka, Janssen, Kirschner, & Erkens, 2015). Another focus is on how to design non-obtrusive assessments in technology enhanced learning environments, for example in serious gaming. Besides, we investigate the use of state of the art technologies like face and voice recognition, keystroke dynamics, and forensic analysis for the purpose of assuring authentication and authorship in e-assessment scenarios.
Leading research questions
The leading questions in this theme are:
- How can assessment optimally foster learning (i.e., which factors are true determinants of learning; balance between AoL and AfL; quality of assessment)?
- How can we best develop and implement effective, efficient and enjoyable technology enhanced assessment in the learning situation?