Interactive oral assessment supporting active learning

Interactive oral assessment supporting active learning

A. Karltun, J. Karltun (2014).  Interactive oral assessment supporting active learning. 9.

Interactive oral assessment supporting active learning

The importance of using a variety of examination methods for effective learning assessment is emphasized in the CDIO standards as it improves learning skills if matched appropriately to intended learning outcomes. The CDIO standards further stress the importance of using active learning methods engaging students in reasoning about concepts, explaining different ways of contextualizing new knowledge and thereby also reflecting on their own learning process (metacognition) and thus helping them to develop skills in applying knowledge to new settings.

If the examination moment itself is designed so that it becomes an active learning opportunity, it could further enhance the learning process and outcomes. It is suggested in this paper that oral examinations has advantages in terms of facilitating active learning if designed and managed in a proper way and therefore should be used more frequently, at least in Sweden where it is not often used. The aim of this paper is to show lessons learned from how the oral assessment method has been successfully used in contributing to active learning.

The oral examination method has been used for ten years in the course Work-Human-Technology within the field of Industrial Engineering and Management at the school of Engineering at Jönköping University in Sweden.

Two teachers having overlapping areas of expertise perform the oral assessment. The students are examined in groups of three in two parallel groups. Before the students answer a question they are permitted to make short notes to gather their thoughts and prepare to give reflective answers. The answers are judged according to the following criteria: facts knowledge, holistic view and comprehensiveness, contextual factors, application and critical reflection.

An active learning occasion is created as the students listen and learn from each other and from the teacher's additional comments.

Lessons learned:

The students are overall very pleased with the interactive oral examination form because they think they learn more compared to written assessments.

By having students undertaking the assessment in groups of three, an active learning occasion is created by interaction between students as well as students and teacher.

As applied examples are asked for in the assessment questions the teacher can help the students to make connections among key concepts and facilitate the application of knowledge to new settings.

The teachers regularly participate in each other’s assessment sessions to calibrate their assessments and the results have proved highly reliable.

For students who are not native English speakers it gives an opportunity for the teacher to clarify things if required.

The teacher has opportunities the help students managing their nervousness by creating an atmosphere that is relaxing.

The interactive oral assessment creates a good relationship between teacher and student.

Although the assessment occasion requires more time, we estimate that there is a saving of time for the teacher if there are not more than 50 students being examined since no written exams need to be designed and corrected.

Proceedings of the 10th International CDIO Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 15-19 2014

Authors (New): 
Anette Karltun
Johan Karltun
Jönköping University, Sweden
Oral assessment
learning outcomes
Active learning
Learning process in assessment
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
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