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Assessment and Academic Honesty In the Online Learning Community By Dr. Rena Palloff and Dr. Keith Pratt Assessment Basics The following are some principles that should guide student assessment in an online course:

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slide1

Assessment and Academic

Honesty

In the Online Learning

Community

By

Dr. Rena Palloff

and

Dr. Keith Pratt

slide3

Assessment Basics

The following are some principles that should guide student assessment in an online course:

  • Design learner-centered assessments that include self reflection
  • Design and include grading rubrics for the assessment of contributions to the discussion as well as for assignments, projects, and the collaboration itself
  • Include collaborative assessments through public posting of papers along with comments from student to student
slide4

Assessment Basics

The following are some principles that should guide student assessment in an online course:

Encourage students to develop skills in providing feedback by providing guidelines to good feedback and by modeling what is expected

Use assessment techniques that fit the context and align with learning objectives

Design assessments that are clear, easy to understand, and that are likely to work in the online environment

Ask for and incorporate student input into how assessment should be conducted

slide5

Angelo and Cross (1993) note that effectiveclassroom assessment should be:

  • Learner-centered
  • Teacher-directed
  • Mutually beneficial
  • Formative
  • Context-specific
  • Ongoing
  • Firmly rooted in good practice
slide6

Tests and Quizzes Online

  • Generally used as the first resource for online instructors because:
  • Course management systems contain test and quiz functions
  • Instructors may have limited time or resources available to construct other forms of assessment
  • (Rocco, 2007)
slide7

Why Tests and Quizzes May Not be the Best Choice

  • May not align with course objectives or mode of instruction
  • The need to write good questions – not all instructors do this well!
  • Generally measure knowledge acquisition but not application
  • May actually encourage cheating
slide8

Designing Courses that Alignwith Assessment

  • Provide clear guidelines and objectives
  • Tasks and assignments should be relevant not only to the subject matter, but to students lives as well
  • Students should understand what is expected of them
  • Assessment should be in alignment with the course as a whole and is not to be seen as a separate and cumbersome task

When the activities and assessment techniques are in alignment, instructors and students alike are more satisfied with the outcome of the learning process.

slide9

Use Quizzes as a Form of Self-Assessment

  • Practice tests and quizzes align well with the use of final exams online
  • Helps students understand what will be expected of them in terms of test questions and how to use the technology for the test
  • Practice tests and quizzes improve student performance in the course (Michigan State University, 2005)
slide10

Alignment of Objectives with Exam Questions

Rocco (2007) provides the following alignment of test question types with desired course outcomes:

slide11

Rubrics

  • Should support self-assessment, self-monitoring, and instructor assessment
  • Should be based on Bloom’s taxonomy and criteria for each level of response assessed should be clear
slide12

Rubrics

  • Define the performance levels for each gradable activity element
  • Provide students with a concrete way of evaluating their own performance as well as the performance of the members of their team in collaborative activity
slide13

Types of Rubrics

  • Holistic Rubrics – Measure overall course performance
  • Analytic Rubrics – Break performance or product into its component parts
  • Primary Trait Rubrics – Similar to analytic rubrics with the exception that they measure a common trait across all categories (i.e., participation in the online course)
slide14

Basic Discussion Rubric

  • Summary Level Posts = C
  • Analytic Level Posts = B
  • Synthesis Level Posts (i.e., “You made me think!”) = A

Blooms

Taxonomy

slide15

Authentic Assessments

  • Generally take the form of application activities such as simulations, role playing or use of case studies.
  • Portfolios can illustrate ongoing knowledge acquisition and application
  • Effectively demonstrate not only acquisition of knowledge but ability to apply that knowledge in professional or other settings
  • Effectively assessed through the use of rubrics
slide16

The Online Learning Community and Assessment

  • Essential Elements of Online LearningCommunities:
  • Mutual interdependence and support
  • A sense of belonging
  • Connectedness
  • Common purpose, expectations, and shared goals
  • Spirit, trust, and interactivity
slide17

Benefits of the Online Learning Community Approach

  • Learners are empowered to understand their own capability for learning
  • Learners have a responsibility to themselves and the other members in the learning process
  • As the result of collaboration, learners are fundamentally changed with regard to their own perception of competence
  • Student participation and satisfaction increases
  • The likelihood of plagiarism and cheating decreases
slide18

Plagiarism and Cheating Online

  • Plagiarism and cheating occurs in both online and face-to-face classes equally
  • May be caused by “deadline-driven desperation”
  • Plagiarism is often unintentional
slide19

Reducing the Incidence of Plagiarism and Cheating Online

  • Use multiple measures and forms of assessment
  • Randomization of tests and quizzes
  • Realize that tests and quizzes are “open book” and design accordingly
  • Break final assignments into parts and assess along the way rather than all at the end
slide20

Reducing the Incidence of Plagiarism and Cheating Online

  • Use performance-based or authentic assessments
  • Educate about plagiarism, appropriate citation, and paraphrasing
  • Use plagiarism detection software as a teaching tool
  • Use collaborative activities and collaborative assessments
  • Involve students in the development of assessments
slide21

Final Thoughts

  • Through the development of learning activities that promote self-direction, such as collaborative assignments and self-assessments, along with the use of multiple means to assess learner performance, learners can be taught the skills that will move them toward greater ability to be involved in the development of assessments in the online classroom and will reduce the likelihood that learners will be tempted to cheat or plagiarize.
  • Asking learners to become involved in the development of a learning community and the assessment process utilized creates a cycle of learning that is supportive of their growth as learners.
  • In such an environment, students hold the concern for academic integrity and, as a result, plagiarism and cheating should abate.
  • Such is the value of building a strong online learning community to support assessment and learning activities online.