NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1086901
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0260-2938
Evaluating Student Assessments: The Use of Optimal Foraging Theory
Whalley, W. Brian
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v41 n2 p183-198 2016
The concepts of optimal foraging theory and the marginal value theorem are used to investigate possible student behaviour in accruing marks in various forms of assessment. The ideas of predator energy consumption, handling and search times can be evaluated in terms of student behaviour and gaining marks or "attainment". These ideas can be used to examine student responses to dealing with assessments by examining a marks awarded/time-on-task curve. The non-linear, cumulative mark gain, as a Gompertz function, has implications for how students tackle continuously assessed projects as well as examination questions. The attainment of a student can be viewed in these general terms, as well as in specific aspects such as question "difficulty" and mark gain in an examination answer. Prospect theory, from econometrics and psychology, can also be used to suggest ways in which students might tackle problems in examinations. The implications of this analysis are considered with respect to setting questions, criterion referencing of assignments and dealing with "troublesome knowledge". The ideas can also be used to assist problems regarding mark fidelity and integrity as well as mark comparability.
Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A