Effect of Online Testing

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The Effects of Online
Formative and Summative
Assessment on
Test Anxiety and Performance
Jerrell C. Cassady & Betty E. Gridley

www.jtla.org
A publication of the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative Caroline A. & Peter S. Lynch School of Education, Boston College

Volume 4, Number 1

The Effects of Online Formative and Summative Assessment on
Test Anxiety and Performance
Jerrell C. Cassady & Betty E. Gridley
Editor: Michael Russell
russelmh@bc.edu
Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative
Lynch School of Education, Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Copy Editor: Kevon R. Tucker-Seeley
Design: Thomas Hoffmann
Layout: Aimee Levy
JTLA is a free on-line journal, published by the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative, Caroline A. & Peter S. Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Copyright ©2005 by the Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment (ISSN 1540-2525).

Permission is hereby granted to copy any article provided that the Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment is credited and copies are not sold.

Preferred citation:
Cassady, J. C. & Gridley, B. E. (2005). The effects of online formative and summative assessment on test anxiety and performance. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 4(1). Available from http://www.jtla.org Author’s note:

We would like to thank Judey Budenz-Anders, Gary Pavlechko and Wayne Mock for their help with an early version of this work. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jerrell C. Cassady, Ph.D., Department of Educational Psychology, Ball State University, TC 522, Muncie, IN 47306; jccassady@bsu.edu.

Abstract:
This study analyzed the effects of online formative and summative assessment materials on undergraduates’ experiences with attention to learners’ testing behaviors (e.g., performance, study habits) and beliefs (e.g., test anxiety, perceived test threat). The results revealed no detriment to students’ perceptions of tests or performances on tests when comparing online to paper-pencil summative assessments. In fact, students taking tests online reported lower levels of perceived test threat. Regarding formative assessment, findings indicate a small benefit for using online practice tests prior to graded course exams. This effect appears to be in part due to the reduction of the deleterious effects of negative test perceptions afforded in conditions where practice tests were available. The results support the integration of online practice tests to help students prepare for course exams and also reveal that secure web-based testing can aid undergraduate instruction through improved student confidence and increased instructional time.

The Effects of On-line Formative
and Summative Assessment
on Test Anxiety and Performance
Jerrell C. Cassady
Betty E. Gridley
Department of Educational Psychology
Ball State University

Introduction
The use of the Internet to provide students with access to course materials has become an increasingly common practice for undergraduate instruction (Duchastel, 1996). Standard online materials typically include links to a course syllabus, an outline of class topics, instructional materials, and communication conduits (Wheeler, 2000). However, recent developments with user-friendly web-based assessment packages and secure Internet testing protocols have led to the common usage of online assignments, quizzes, and tests. Although there is great enthusiasm among educators regarding the potential for online delivery of both formative and summative assessment materials, there is little evidence regarding the impact of web-based assessment practices on student performance (Buchanan, 1998; 2000). Similarly, the unique impact of online testing on students’ attitudes and anxieties is an under-explored topic. This investigation explored undergraduate students’ experiences within the context of a course utilizing online assessments. In particular, two primary...
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