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Title: Development and evaluation of computer-aided assessment in discrete and decision mathematics
Author: Zaczek, Kinga
ISNI:       0000 0004 4692 2326
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis describes the development of Computer-Aided Assessment questions for elementary discrete and decision mathematics at the school/university interface, stressing the pedagogy behind the questions’ design and the development of methodology for assessing their efficacy in improving students’ engagement and perceptions, as well as on their exams results. The questions give instant and detailed feedback and hence are valuable as diagnostic, formative or summative tools. A total of 275 questions were designed and coded for five topics, numbers, sets, logic, linear programming and graph theory, commonly taught to students of mathematics, computer science, engineering and management. Pedagogy and programming problems with authoring questions were resolved and are discussed in specific topic contexts and beyond. The delivery of robust and valid objective questions, even within the constraints of CAA, is therefore feasible. Different question types and rich feedback comprising text, equations and diagrams that allow random parameters to produce millions of realisations at run time, can give CAA an important role in teaching mathematics at this level. Questionnaires identified that CAA was generally popular with students, with the vast majority seeing CAA not only as assessment but also as a learning resource. To test the impact of CAA on students’ learning, an analysis of the exam scripts quantified its effect on class means and standard deviations. This also identified common student errors, which fed into the question design and editing processes by providing evidence-based mal-rules. Four easily-identified indicators (correctly-written remainders, conversion of binary/octal/hexadecimal numbers, use of correct set notation {…} and consistent layout of truth tables) were examined in student exam scripts to find out if the CAA helps students to improve examination answers. The CAA answer files also provided the questions’ facilities and discriminations, potentially giving teachers specific information on which to base and develop their teaching and assessment strategies. We conclude that CAA is a successful tool for the formative/summative assessment of mathematics at this level and has a positive effect on students’ learning.
Supervisor: Greenhow, M.; Noble, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: E-learning ; Formative feedback ; Computer-aided assessment (CAA)