The effect of digital assessment in a high school chemistry classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Today's students are being assessed in a multitude of formats compared to the traditional paper-format quizzes and tests. As digital formatting of mathematical and chemical symbols is difficult for students to complete in the chemistry setting, the use of calculation-based open response questions in digital assessments has diminished. The value of such written response questions remains a valuable tool for instructors as it provides assessment information on student understanding and their communication processes. The purpose of this research project was to determine if there was any significant difference in performance between paper and digital assessments. As well, a look at the student perception of performance and preference in format were evaluated. Students were given instruction on how to perform equivalent digital formatting for chemical and mathematical notation where possible. They were then given instruction in various units of study, and assessed using either paper or digital means. Grades on formative and summative assessments were compared to determine if a significant difference in performance existed for either format type. Student surveys were also administered to determine preference for either format of assessment. Student preference shifted slightly towards paper format due to the amount of effort required for input using digital means. During the learning phase, performance on formative assessments showed a significant difference in student results favoring paper assessments. Whereas assessment data from the summative learning assessments showed that the students learned the chemistry objectives with no significant difference using either format. Qualitative data collected suggested methods to change the online delivery method in the future to bridge the gap between performance and preference.




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