Home News Should schools do away with lengthy assessments? A new study says yes

Should schools do away with lengthy assessments? A new study says yes


Should schools do away with lengthy assessments? A new study says yes

A 2020 study found the Australian education system needs to revamp the way students are being assessed to equip them with the skills necessary to “future-proof their employability prospects”.

The research found that current assessment practices are “not preparing students for the next century of work”, potentially leaving an entire generation in the lurch.

Now a new study by the Australian Catholic University (ACU) proposes replacing lengthy exams with shorter ‘bite-sized’ assessments to help improve student engagement and outcomes.

The study by researchers from the ACU’s Peter Faber Business School found that accounting students who used mobile apps were more likely to complete their course, with nearly 30% more likely to participate during in-class activities when compared with more traditional teaching methods. 

“We wanted to know if gamification could positively influence student retention,” the study’s lead author Associate Professor Wendy James said.

“Deeper than that, the feedback was that they enjoyed the technology. They were more engaged with learning materials, and it helped them make friends.”

Published in international journal Accounting Education, the study examined users and non-users of a gamified mobile app developed for first-year accounting students across five of ACU’s eight campuses. Participants used game-based learning app Quitch to complete weekly quizzes in their own time and during group workshops.

For example, when a topic was introduced in a workshop by a lecturer, students who attended would, in real time, be prompted to answer a relevant question in the app. Each ACU campus had its own weekly leaderboard and an all campus “Quitch Off” would determine a winner at the end of the semester.

Quizzes were used to assess engagement in class and to prompt discussion between peers and teachers.

The broader question would be to investigate the effectiveness of using interactive smaller smart games as assessments in lieu of logging in with multiple clicks to the learning management site and answering discussion forum questions or answering quizzes in the site.

Associate Professor James, who collaborated with Dr Grainne Oates from Swinburne University, and Dr Nikki Schonfeldt from the University of Western Australia on the project, said traditionally, university courses rely on a small number of large assessments.

“Having seen the impact of gamified mobile applications on engagement and retention, multiple, smaller, gamified activities may be more effective than a two-hour exam.” 

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