Significance of Assignment Based Evaluations
Assignment based evaluations [ABEs] are by no means a new concept. This system has been gaining popularity for the last 40 years mainly for the postgraduate programs in the UK.i However, there is a wider spotlight on assignment-based evaluations these days because of the shift towards online education.
Teachers all over the world are realizing the need for different assessment methods. Such as a mix of subjective and objective evaluation. Because the other methods such as purely MCQ-based exams do not always allow them to gauge students’ learning and performance as efficiently.ii
More and more colleges and universities globally are introducing the ABE system for their undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Some universities in India that have recently started assignment-based evaluations include Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University and Gauhati University to name a few.
Overview of Assignment-Based Evaluations
ABE is a method of evaluation. Here, the student’s progress is estimated through assignments and coursework, instead of end-of-year exams.
The assignments might be divided into smaller ones spread throughout the year. Or there might just be one comprehensive assignment at the end of the term that makes up the major portion [75% or above] of your final grade.
For example, Delhi University allows oral quizzes and homework assignments conducted throughout the year to be considered in the final grade.iii But certain masters’ programs consider the final report as the only gradable assignment.
But no matter what the technicalities are, the goal of ABE remains the same. That is, to give students such questions that require a subjective answer. The aim is to evaluate students as precisely as possible by having them apply their knowledge to solve problems posed in the questions.
Significance of Assignment-Based Evaluations
Many brick-and-mortar schools and various online masters’ programs use ABEs to gauge learning outcomes for their students. Here are three observations that show the value of this system:
- Assignments stimulate students’ research skills and critical reflection. This is especially true for postgraduate programs where the assignments are extensive project reports. Here, the learners have to investigate certain industry-related issues or use their knowledge to propose solutions for specific challenges.iv
- ABEs give a better estimate of the students’ knowledge and depth of learning as compared to the MCQ style. Because assignments can better determine the student’s ability to apply his/her knowledge to solve complex problems and also explain the rationale behind it.v
- Assignments engage students in active learning and improve their skills of practically integrating their knowledge.vi When learning becomes interactive and the learned concepts are put to use and practice, the learning becomes thorough and complete.
Online Masters’ Programs with Assignment-Based Evaluation System
Professor John Richardson conducted a literature review on types of assessments. He concluded that some students prefer the assignment-based evaluation system to the end of the year examinations or a mixture of the two systems.vii
If you are interested in joining an online masters’ program, then choose the one that has an ABE system. This is likely to improve your learning outcomes and analytical capabilities which you can carry into your professional life as well.