|| Section: Web-Based Learning|
|Topic: Evaluation Tools (page 2 of 4)|
Fifteen undergraduate students majoring in Materials Science/Engineering and Chemical Engineering, after given a brief explanation of what the course and the evaluation tools were like, were surveyed and were asked to comment on what they thought about different aspects of the proposed evaluation method. These comments should cover what they thought about the evaluation tools that will be used, if they thought the tools were fair, if the tools would help learn the course work, how they felt their attitudes toward the class would be affected as a result of using those evaluation tools, and how well they thought they would do.
When asked about what they thought about using a scantron exam for evaluating the students, nearly half thought that it was a good way to test students, while the another half felt it was not appropriate, and a few did not like scantron tests at all. Even among those who were in favor, most students also mentioned that they were concerned that, with multiple choice, either you are right or wrong. They felt that when dealing with issues of technical communication, there may be some unclear areas and wanted to get an opportunity to explain themselves on exams. The majority of students suggested that short answer or fill-in-the-blank would make them feel more comfortable. They also commented that with a scantron test there will be no possibility for partial credit. They felt that one can always misinterpret a question and without the opportunity to explain, the teacher would have no way of knowing what they were thinking. The student's attitude toward scantron exams often affected the outcome of the test.
When the issue of fairness was brought up, the majority of students thought that the tests will be mostly fair, but had the potential to be otherwise. One student pointed out that, depending on the questions, the answer may not really reflect what the student knows. The students stated that being able to express their ideas is important and that they do not have an opportunity to do so in this format. They did feel, though, that this situation was mostly fair since every student was in the same position.
The students' opinion on whether the evaluation instruments would accurately reflect what the students learned of the course work leaned toward the negative side. Some felt that you had to if you had to take a test every two weeks but also noted that this learning would come mainly in the form of memorization. Those who thought that it would not help, also noted the same issues citing that they would forget what they had learned soon after taking the exam.
When the students were asked what effect they thought that the evaluation tools would have on their attitude towards the class, they almost unanimously felt that they would take the class less seriously. They said that students usually take multiple choice tests less seriously because the correct answer is there, so there is a chance to get it correct even when you donít know it. They also said that they would be inclined to wait till the last minute. One student said that he would be lazier with respect to the course.
Finally the students were asked if they thought they would do better or worse in the course. With respect to grades, the answers were more individual-specific. A few thought that they would do better and many thought that they would so the same as with another evaluation tool. The third of the students who thought that they would do worse were very concerned that they would misinterpret questions without an avenue for the grader to understand what they were thinking.