Consequential Decisions from Continuously-Gathered Electronic Interactions: Could it Really Work?

Consequential Decisions from Continuously-Gathered Electronic Interactions: Could it Really Work?

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Consequential Decisions from Continuously-Gathered Electronic Interactions: Could it Really Work?

In an online learning environment, assessment information can be gathered continuously, ubiquitously, and unobtrusively. That information gathering can occur through an e-book, online course, game, or simulation. Some commentators have suggested that this capability will lead to the “,end of testing.”, That is, there will be no reason to have distinct formative or summative assessments because all the information needed for classroom decision-making, as well as for student and institutional accountability, will be gathered in the learning process. If a student’,s continuously gathered electronic interactions suggest mastery of target competencies, why couldn’,t that information also suffice for promotion, graduation, college admissions, and teacher and school evaluation?Whereas this idea seems compelling, there are at least five significant-and possibly intractable-issues that must be resolved before continuously embedded assessment can become reality in the summative context. These issues relate to the extrapolation of within-environment performance to outside performance, the comparability of performance across electronic learning environments, the privacy of the student data collected, the impact on teaching and learning, and the effect on the integrity of the formative and summative assessment processes. This paper will review these issues and pose one potential solution.Keywords: technology based assessment, games, continuous assessment

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