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dc.contributor.authorNissen, Jayson M. ( Orcid Icon 0000-0003-3507-4993 )
dc.contributor.authorJariwala, Manher ( )
dc.contributor.authorClose, Eleanor W. ( )
dc.contributor.authorVan Dusen, Ben ( )
dc.identifier.citationNissen, J. M., Jariwala, M., Close, E. W. & Van Dusen, B. (2016). Participation and performance on paper- and computer-based low-stakes assessments. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(21).en_US

Background: High-stakes assessments, such the Graduate Records Examination, have transitioned from paper to computer administration. Low-stakes research-based assessments (RBAs), such as the Force Concept Inventory, have only recently begun this transition to computer administration with online services. These online services can simplify administering, scoring, and interpreting assessments, thereby reducing barriers to instructors’ use of RBAs. By supporting instructors’ objective assessment of the efficacy of their courses, these services can stimulate instructors to transform their courses to improve student outcomes. We investigate the extent to which RBAs administered outside of class with the online Learning About STEM Student Outcomes (LASSO) platform provide equivalent data to tests administered on paper in class, in terms of both student participation and performance. We use an experimental design to investigate the differences between these two assessment conditions with 1310 students in 25 sections of 3 college physics courses spanning 2 semesters.

Results: Analysis conducted using hierarchical linear models indicates that student performance on low-stakes RBAs is equivalent for online (out-of-class) and paper-and-pencil (in-class) administrations. The models also show differences in participation rates across assessment conditions and student grades, but that instructors can achieve participation rates with online assessments equivalent to paper assessments by offering students credit for participating and by providing multiple reminders to complete the assessment.

Conclusions: We conclude that online out-of-class administration of RBAs can save class and instructor time while providing participation rates and performance results equivalent to in-class paper-and-pencil tests.

dc.format.extent17 pages
dc.format.medium1 file (.pdf)
dc.publisherSpringer Openen_US
dc.sourceInternational Journal of STEM Education, 2018, Vol. 5, No. 21.
dc.subjectComputer-based testen_US
dc.subjectResearch-based assessmentsen_US
dc.subjectHierarchical linear modelsen_US
dc.titleParticipation and Performance on Paper- and Computer-based Low-stakes Assessmentsen_US
dc.rights.licenseCreative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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