Making online assessment work for students in an entry-level accounting course

Aisbitt, Sally (2003). Making online assessment work for students in an entry-level accounting course. In: Effective Learning Strategies Forum- American Accounting Association Annual Meeting, 6 Aug 2003, Honolulu, Hawaii.



The incremental nature of learning accounting means that regular testing of understanding facilitates the accumulation of knowledge and understanding, by ensuring elementary material is fully comprehended before students move on to more advanced material. Professional accounting and training bodies in the U.K. have harnessed the power of IT in generating different tests of equivalent difficulty to allow asynchronous testing. Universities may perceive online assessment (OLA) as attractive, because it is considered to be cost-effective and demonstrates that they are embracing technical advances and their courses must, by implication, be up to date. At the Open University Business School (OUBS) we have used OLA to encourage the learning of basic principles in an introductory accounting course and to prepare the students for this form of testing in their subsequent professional careers. The feedback from students on the benefits of OLA demonstrates that it plays an important role in their learning strategy for the course. However, to achieve its pedagogical objectives, OLA needs to be carefully managed and this can be expensive in terms of capital outlay and the human resources needed to support the system.

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