ERIC Number: EJ889051
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
The Validity of Examination Essays in Higher Education: Issues and Responses
Brown, Gavin T. L.
Higher Education Quarterly, v64 n3 p276-291 Jul 2010
The use of timed, essay examinations is a well-established means of evaluating student learning in higher education. The reliability of essay scoring is highly problematic and it appears that essay examination grades are highly dependent on language and organisational components of writing. Computer-assisted scoring of essays makes use of language features and has demonstrated strong similarity to human ratings. Studies of examiner behaviour show that attention to content and language features contributes to grading decisions. However, given the time constraints on essay examinations, an overemphasis on language aspects may weaken the validity of essay examination grades. This article suggests alternative approaches to the standard essay prompt which should raise the validity of essay tasks and scoring in higher education. Suggested options include redesigning tasks so that organisational and language features are less influential in scoring and the use of content maps.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Essay Tests, Validity, Scoring, Essays, Academic Achievement, Reliability, Writing Skills, Computer Assisted Testing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A