New Assessment Forms in Problem-based Learning: the value-added of the students' perspective

M.S.R. Segers, F.J.R.C. Dochy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To an increasing extent, teachers and students are leaving the well-known, traditional learning and assessment avenues and moving towards new learning environments and modes of assessment. However, the road from theory to practice seems to be a rocky one. This article presents the quantitative and qualitative data gathered from a research project which focused on different quality aspects of two new assessment forms in problem-based learning. A written examination was used to assess the extent to which students are able to define, analyse and solve novel, authentic problems. Peer assessment was introduced for students to report on collaborative work during the tutorial meeting, and during the study period that follows these weekly meetings. Students' perceptions are used as a tool for explaining the strengths and weaknesses of both instruments and the learning environment in which they are embedded. The article suggests that both assessment forms have acceptable qualities. The written examination seems to have an acceptable curricular, instructional and criterion validity. For the peer assessment, generalisability coefficients for both groups were over 0.75. Peer assessment seems to be accurate. Peer marks seem to correlate well with tutor marks and final examination scores. However, the students' learning outcomes, as measured by the examination, are lower than expected. Staff members experience the students' learning activities as disappointing. In the Louvain case, there are indications that the students cannot accurately reflect on their own functioning. In order to highlight plausible explanations, students' perceptions of the learning assessment environment are analysed. In both cases, students perceive a gap between their working in the tutorial groups and the assessment. These results offer a valuable input for teachers to formulate concrete recommendations for optimising their educational and assessment practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-343
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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