Students’ Perceptions of Choice-based Assessment A Case Study
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The traditional teacher-centered approach to assessment places teachers in total control of what, how, and when students’ learning is assessed. Alternatively, choice-based assessment is a learner-centered approach to assessment that allows students to choose, to some extent, what, how, and/or when their learning is assessed. A case study was designed to expose undergraduate students to a choice-based assessment strategy and subsequently measure the extent to which they agreed, or disagreed, that the strategy influenced their level of engagement and satisfaction with their learning. Students voluntarily shared their perceptions over two survey cycles (n=22 in spring 2017 and n=36 in fall 2017) with an overall response rate of 84 percent. Results clearly demonstrate that most students expressed strong support for this choice-based assessment strategy; it enabled them focus on their strengths and interests, it influenced their level of engagement, it made them feel more responsible for their learning, and it made them feel empowered. However, choice was not motivating for all students; a few students expressed concerns over the potential for procrastination, a lack of experience with choice, and/or too many choices, which were more likely symptoms of the strategy’s design rather than choice-based assessment. Overall, this case study clearly demonstrated that students were highly receptive to having a choice in what, how, and when their learning is assessed, which provides further evidence of the untapped potential for choice-based assessment strategies to foster student engagement, improve student satisfaction, and empower students to actively participate in their learning.
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