Strategic Engagement: Exploring student buy-in across a formative and summative online assessment
Assessment greatly influences the approaches students take in their learning. The nature of the assessment task, its educational value, outcomes and perceived importance can influence student engagement. PeerWise, a freely available online tool enables a highly interactive student-led assessment activity that promotes independent learning and peer-feedback. The level and quality of student engagement across a formative and summative PeerWise assignment in two 1st year chemistry modules across three academic years was evaluated. Detailed analysis reports the level of student participation in the task, time-resolved engagement during the assignment window, classification of the student question type (using a revised Bloom’s taxonomy), quality of model answers/student comments and occurrence of errors. The level of participation was extremely high in both formative and summative cohorts. There was enhanced engagement from the formative cohorts in answering questions and engaging in PeerWise beyond the assignment deadline. The quality of student work was comparable irrespective of the summative/formative assignment and the majority of questions created tested beyond simple recall. Strategic engagement across both formative and summative cohorts is evident with a greater number of short cuts detected in the formative cohorts. This research study provides insights into some of the common concerns expressed by academics when planning the assessment portfolio within a programme of study.