A Study of Non-traditional Examination Forms and Their Effects on Student Learning

Anders Berglund
Department of Computer Systems
Uppsala University
P.O. Box 325
S-751 05 Uppsala
Tel: + 46 471 18 31 67
Fax: + 46 18 55 02 25

My main interest of research is students' learning, and how students' learning is influenced by our ways of teaching and assessing students' learning.

Main project

I am currently working on a project on the effects of non-traditional assessment methods in computer science courses in the Engineering Physics program at Uppsala University in Sweden. The project runs for three years and is funded by Swedish Council for the Renewal of Undergraduate education and is selected in the Swedish "NyIng" project. The aim of the NyIng project is to develop and renew engineering education on different levels in Sweden.

Our choice of assessment methods is a strong tool for influencing our students' study strategies and, as a consequence, the quality of their education. In the project I will develop and evaluate non-traditional assessment methods within the Engineering Physics programme. The goal is that these methods should improve students' learning, encourage good study strategies and effect motivation. I intend to show that these goals are fulfilled, i.e. that the methods are, and not only seem to be, good assessment methods.

I want to answer the following questions:

Data collection will be mainly during and right after the courses during first part of spring 1998. The three courses are taken in parallel for 10 weeks, and are followed by another group of three courses during the second part of the spring semester. The courses during the second part of spring will not be changed. Interviews, questionnaires (modified Course Experience Questionnaire), group discussions will be used.

By the end of the spring 1998, that is 10 weeks after the end of the courses, I will study if and how students' study strategies on the courses following those with new assessment forms have changed.

During spring 1999 the methods, modified with our gained experiences, will be applied again in these courses. Complementing investigations of remaining questions will be performed.

Spring 1999 will also also contain interviews with selected students from the course from 1998 to find out if and how they have changed their ways of studying as a result of their earlier course experiences. There will also be some complementary studies to cover still unclear issues.

Other projects

I am also involved in the following projects:

I also particapate in a graduate course in Research Methods in Computer Science Education, run in Uppsala by Vicki Almstrum and Nell Dale, UT Austin, TX, USA.