Using Indirect vs. Direct Measures in the Summative Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education

Christine Luce, Jean P Kirnan

Abstract


Contradictory results have been reported regarding the accuracy of various methods used to assess student learning in higher education. The current study examined student learning outcomes across a multi-section and multi-instructor psychology research course with both indirect and direct assessments in a sample of 67 undergraduate students. The indirect method measured student perceived knowledge and abilities on course topics, while the direct method measured actual knowledge where students answered test questions or solved problems reflecting course content. Both measures independently demonstrated increases from pretest to posttest; however the indirect measure did not correlate with final course grades. Results also showed respondents scoring lower on the direct measure were overconfident (as measured by indirect score) in their perceived knowledge and ability, the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Based on our findings, we concluded that the indirect method was not an accurate measure of student learning, but may have benefits as an instructional tool.

Keywords


indirect and direct measures, summative assessment, pretest/posttest, psychology, perceived knowledge, confidence, student learning outcomes, higher education

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i4.19371

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




ISSN 1527-9316