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Blended Learning Examples

Pre-module diagnostic assessment

Pre-module diagnostic assessment

As the level of student proficiency in mathematical skills may vary largely in first year students and, specially in large cohorts, it can be difficult for the course director to gauge whether basic mathematical skills are present across the cohort, the course director from this economics module prepared a diagnostic test with a number of objectives in mind:
  • Ascertain the level of understanding of basic mathematics in first year students
  • Provide pointers for those students not meeting the basic requirements, as early as possible in the course
  • Develop independent self-study skills
The course director prepared a short (25 minutes) test in Blackboard covering the basic pre-requisites of the module. Students were given one attempt at completing the test. Blackboard was set to mark students responses automatically and, thus no manual marking was carried out by the course director. In completion of the test, students received their score. The formative aim of the test reflected in the automated feedback prepared for each individual question. The feedback was carefully crafted by the course director to take students to the areas in the course where correct or further explanation could be found.

Benefits:

  • Using assessment to advance learning: that is, assessment which helps students acquire the core knowledge which is a necessary foundation to more advanced learning and understanding of their subject.
  • Managing large groups effectively
  • Personalisation: adapting course to respond to a variety of individual needs
  • Engaging students in evaluating their own performance and improving their understanding of what is expected from them
  • Encouraging better performance, self-testing and autonomous, active learning
  • Developing independent study and self-responsibility
  • Delivering timely and effective feedback and preparing students to engage with feedback
  • Supporting students to focus effort and devote sufficient amount of time to the course
  • Re-usability: diagnostic test can be re-used in future years
  • Requires low level of technical expertise or technical confidence