Hewson, Claire; Charlton, John and Brosnan, Mark
Comparing online and offline administration of multiple choice question assessments to psychology undergraduates: Do assessment modality or computer attitudes influence performance?
Psychology Learning and Teaching, 6(1) pp. 37–46.
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Recent interest in and use of online assessments across a range of disciplines has raised a number of issues relating to student perceptions and performance when using this medium. The validity of such online tests is a crucial consideration, especially if they are to be used for summative as well as formative assessment. The current study examined higher education students’ performance on online assessments which they were required to take as part of an undergraduate psychology course. The marks obtained by students required to take the same multiple choice question (MCQ) assessment online and offline (in pen-and paper format) were compared, and relationships between performance and computer anxiety and computer engagement measures were explored. The results indicate minimal influence of assessment modality, computer anxiety and computer engagement on MCQ test scores, with only very small and non significant effect sizes being observed overall. No evidence of any significant relationships between gender and age and computer attitudes was observed. To conclude, the results provide promising initial support for the use of online summative assessments in contexts similar to the one used here, allaying some concerns about disadvantaging certain groups of students. However, further research is needed to explore possible performance differences across different contexts, assessment types, and student cohorts.
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