Skill-Centered Assessment in an Academic Course: A Formative Approach to Evaluate Student Performance and Make Continuous Quality Improvements in Pedagogy
Keywords:Skill-centered assessment, Learning domains, Formative evaluation, Criterion-referenced testing, Higher education, Quality improvement
Practices in domain-referenced assessment design and formative course evaluation are not common in still-developing, higher education systems around the world. This paper demonstrates skill-centered assessment and instructional design as a method for evaluating students’ skills performances, and demonstrates how to use the overall results for improving the quality of instruc-tion in a course in computing education. It applies a case study method, describ-ing assessment methods linked to, targeted learning skills and learning domains. The measurements were carried out by the course instructor, adopting a replicable analytic approach. The measured outcomes on each skill provided specific information to guide actions by teachers, to improve course delivery. Results suggest important indicators for teachers to stress in the next cycle of course de-livery in which the students were weak. The study demonstrates an easy-to-apply approach in skill-centered assessment, starting with assessments linked to learning domains, as a means for promoting best practices in formative evaluation in the field of computer education. While the essential principles of this method date back to the literature on criterion-referenced testing and instructional design, the systematic process produces results to support quality improvements in higher education settings where such methods are not the norm.
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