The impact of assessment on learning achievement

Felicia Zhang

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


In an empirical study, Bryant & Zhang (forthcoming) show that the academic performance of a university subject (unit) could be understood through measuring learning results (operationalised from teaching outcomes). The present investigation demonstrates that assessment is important to learning results, because assessment involves selections that may have unintended effects on a unit. Understanding these effects might lead to an improvement in teaching and learning, which might in turn contribute to reshaping higher education. The assessment tasks considered were examination and essay tasks. These two tasks were frequently encountered in the preliminary pilot on feasibility. Also, significant weightings were attached to these tasks. To enable a comparison between different mixtures of assessment tasks, or different levels of weightings for each task, assessment tasks were classified according to their weighting’s degree of dominance. This strategy allowed for a clear comparison between different task mixes. Essays were distinguished as generally beneficial to learning results whereas examinations were noted as generally non-beneficial to learning results. In summary, there was support for the thesis that the selection of assessment task and weighting can have an unintended impact on learning result, and a suggestion that superior selections can be made in task and weighting
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch and Development in Higher Education : Reshaping Higher Education : Volume 33 : Refereed papers from the 33rd HERDSA Annual International Conference
EditorsM. Devlin, J. Nagy
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780908557809
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2010 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 6 Jul 20109 Jul 2010


ConferenceHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2010


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