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-- the Labyrinth May 1993 --

Courses Evaluation by Computer

Mary Ryan & Larry Fuller, GCC

In the Summer of 1992, work was begun in earnest to transfer the evaluative process of three nursing courses from pen and paper to computer administration for Fall semester 1992. The effort was a collaborative one between the staff of the authoring center in High Technology and the nursing faculty. The focus of this project was on the courses that prepare students to transfer to the ASU baccalaureate nursing program housed on the west campus.

In the Fall semester, the twenty-seven exams from six lower division courses were on computer. This spring the second level course of the Associate Degree program was added. The increased participation was due to the enthusiasm of nursing faculty and the fact that the licensure exam following graduation will be on computer by February of 1995.

The use of the testing engine in nursing during the creative process helped identify changes needed and supplied deadlines for pushing the work forward quickly and effectively.

The testing engine is capable of handling multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer questions. Graphics simulate real life and help students visualize the use of content in clinical settings.

The students can move around in the test using the browse screen, change answers, and mark questions they are unsure of. They receive their grades upon completing an exam and can review their performance on test items if they wish.

Student grades and an analysis of the test results are available for the teacher the day following the exam. The information is helpful in evaluating test items and their ability to discriminate between high and low performing students.

A database process is ready for use this summer. It will allow faculty to choose items based on content presented by exam time rather than being controlled by exam content already defined.

The most positive outcome of the project has been the students' response. Students have more control over the evaluative process; choosing their own time on the designated day (8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) to take the exam; knowing their grades first, even before the teacher; and reviewing test items immediately for learning.

Use of this testing technology will be expanded in the Nursing Department Fall semester 1993. Several other departments here at Glendale Community College are beginning work on computer evaluation processes. GateWay and Phoenix College also have projects started.

Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI)
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