Use of Online Assessments to Monitor Learning Outcomes in Higher Level Engineering Courses

Elliot Law and Sze Dai Pang
National University of Singapore


Abstract

In this study, online assessments were adopted as a means for students and instructors to monitor the learning progress and outcomes of students in a higher level engineering course, in order determine whether (a) the online assessments helped to improve the general level of proficiency of the students in this course, and (b) there were clear links between the levels of cognitive skills engaged in the online assessments with the examination results and final grades. The key features of the online assessments used in this study were (a) each set of assessment questions consisted of questions with different levels of difficulty and marks, and (b) students were allowed to attempt any combination of questions to get a pre-determined maximum score. The results obtained in this study show that the online assessments seemed to be rather effective in enhancing the learning experience of the students and achieving their intended outcome of helping students monitor their own learning progress and level of achievement. Moreover, there was apparently a significant correlation between the level of achievement attained by a student for the difficult online assessment questions, which required the use of higher order cognitive skills, and the subsequent performance in the end-of-semester examination as well as the final grade obtained by the student.