Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 1 Running Head: ONLINE VERSUS TRADITIONAL ASSESSMENT METHODS

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods A Review of Research Mark Miyashita University of Colorado Denver

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 2 Introduction The concept of distance learning has long existed with the use of correspondence courses, but in the past decade with the explosion of the Internet online learning has skyrocketed in growth. Higher Education has been the trendsetter in this field, but recently K-12 has made strides in offering distance learning to students. According to the National Association of State Boards of Education the number of student enrolled online during 2003 was projected to be 100,000 (Rice, 2006). Determining if there is any significant difference in student achievement between online and traditional face-to-face students at the K-12 level has not been widely reported on. Though there are a number of different perspectives that should be considered regarding online assessment including teachers, students, and administration. Many of the opinions that have been expressed in public are often made without any understanding of the research that has been conducted on this matter. Literature Search Question This literature review will address the research question: What differences exist in student achievement between those that complete assessments online compared with face-to-face students? Search Procedures Research was done through the use of academic databases to find articles from scholarly journals and groups to determine if there was a difference between these assessments methods. Articles from groups throughout the world were considered along with those that examined the issue of academic honesty and its relation online assessments. Databases were used including Google Scholar and Ebsco to conduct the search for these articles. Search descriptors included: distance learning, online assessment, traditional learning, and e learning versus traditional

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 3 learning. Findings Student Performance To date, one of the most supportive publications of distance education is Russell’s The No Significant Difference Phenomenon (1999), in which he cited several comparison studies of distance education classes with face-to-face classes (Summers, Waigandt, & Whittaker, 2005). The work of Russell focuses on higher education for which more research has been conducted since these course offerings have existed for a longer period of time and to a larger number of people. Studies in K-12 have had limitations due to size and scope of the research group. McLeod, Hughes, Brown, Choi, and Maeda (2005) attempted to limit these challenges by controlling for student demographics and academic characteristics in their study examining academic performance of students enrolled in Algebra I classes in three virtual schools and two face-to-face schools in three different states. The findings indicated that virtual students outperformed students in traditional face-to-face classes (Rice, 2006). Whereas there have been reports documenting research that shows students online do not outperform their face-to-face counterparts. According to research from Michigan State University “Students in the traditional sections answered 65.5 percent of the questions correctly, on average, while the online students got 61.2 percent correct, on average. A third group of 258 students, who took a hybrid course that mixed technology and face-to-face aspects, answered an average of 64.5 percent of the questions correctly. (Carnevale, 2002). This contradicting research demonstrates the need for further study into this area at both the K-12 and higher education levels, as there is no real consensus that has been reached about achievement. Academic Integrity

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 4 One area of study that has been examined is that of academic dishonesty and its relation to the use of the Internet for learning, research, and delivery of instruction. As technology use becomes more widespread in education for completing assessment of student learning this will continue to be an area that is examined. According to the Who’s Who Among American High School Students annual study of top U.S. teens, a record 80% of A-average students surveyed in 1998 admitted to some form of academic dishonesty (Milliron & Sandhoe, 2008). The potential for academic dishonesty in the virtual allows for more dishonesty, as students will have increased access to potential resources. “Although the uses and abuses of online assessment techniques and tools reflect the technological capacity of systems to supplement an educational service…It is the driving force of the pedagogical beliefs of the users of such systems that will ultimately reflect the quality of online assessment (Northcote, 2002). Quality of Literature The research gathered used quantitative and qualitative methods to come to a conclusion about the success of online learning versus face-to-face. Despite there being plenty of information to support ideas that were researched there still remained a smaller study group in the online model. The information was gathered from a number of academic journals, however this remains a new field with limited research being conducted in all areas of education. Many opinions that have been formed about the use of online instruction and assessment have been negative based upon the stereotype that courses are “easier” when taken online. With this limited research that has been done with digital learning being in its infancy have come questions to the ideas of Russell who stated through his research that there was “no significant difference” in achievement. “Green (in Morrison, 1999) also states that we to “acknowledge we don’t yet have clear, compelling evidence about the impact of information technology on student learning and

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 5 educational outcomes” (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 2002). With so much more work to be in this field, the desired end results that researchers may seek can be manipulated to ensure accuracy, as this area has not had extensive enough study. Gap in Literature There remains a gap in the literature in looking at the success of students who take hybrid courses that blend both the face-to-face and online learning and assessment environments. With K-12 education still being in an exploratory mode with online learning, there remain a number of questions about the validity of research results. Most research has been placed on higher education and the achievement of students at the collegiate level. A study at the University of Central Florida found “courses using synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication were comparable to the conventional lecture format with regard to student learning” (Newlin, Lavooy & Wang, 2005). The main focus of the literature that has been found examines the difference between student achievement in those enrolled strictly in a distance or face-to-face course, versus those that take the blended models. It can only be inferred that based upon the literature reviewed that there would not be significant difference in student achievement in a blended model. There is a need for further research into the actual performance of high school students using online methods to gain a better perspective about the preparation habits of students, the quality of these assessments, and what role does having an expanded network at one’s fingertips helps or hinders student achievement. These questions remain unexplored, in a time when many school districts are feeling the burden of global recession the ability to find alternative and cheaper ways of delivering instruction and assessment has become a focus of administrators in the field of education. Conclusion

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 6 The literature reviewed has been helpful in developing a better understanding of student achievement between distance and face-to-face learning, but does not provide concrete information about K-12 learning. The gaps in the literature display a focus on higher education versus the emerging demographic of high school students engaged in online learning. More quantitative research is necessary to develop a better understanding in determine if differences exist between the two learning groups. With further study a better position can be taken on this matter, however this lack of K-12 information demonstrates the need for further study.

Online Versus Traditional Assessment Methods 7 References Carnevale, D. (2002) Online Students Don’t Fare as Well as Classroom Counterparts, Study Finds. Chronicle of Higher Education, 48(27). Rice, K.L. (2006). A Comprehensive Look at Distance Education in the K-12 content. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4) Milliron, V, & Sandhoe, K. (2008). The Net generation of cheating. Innovate Online, 4(6), Retrieved from Newlin, M.H., Lavooy, M.J., & Wang, A.Y. (2005). An Experimental Comparison of Conventional and Web-based Instructional Formats. North American Journal of Psychology, 7(2). Northcote, M. (2002). Online assessment: friend, foe or fix? British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(5). Summers, J.J., Waigandt, A., & Whittaker, T.A. (2005). A Comparison of student achievement and satisfaction in an online versus a traditional face-to-face statistics class. Innovative Higher Education, 29(3), doi: 10.1007/s10755-005-1938-x The Signficance of "no significance". (2002). ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 29(4), Retrieved from http://0 vid=19&hid=5&sid=590a2051-b742-4032-bd37b7f55c3892e0%40sessionmgr14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d %3d#db=aph&AN=10297334#db=aph&AN=10297334#db=aph&AN=10297334

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