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The 14th International Scientific Conference

eLearning and Software for Education


Bucharest, April 19-20, 2018
10.12753/2066-026X-18-000

ALTERNATIVE EVALUATION METHODS IN UNIVERSITY EDUCATION


Raluca-Giorgiana CHIVU, Mihai ORZAN, Luiza-Maria TURLACU
The Bucharest University of Economic Studies
raluca.chivu0126@gmail.com, mihai.orzan@ase.ro, luiza.turlacu@gmail.com

Andra-Victoria RADU
University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila"
andra352002@yahoo.com

Abstract: The alternative methods of evaluation are interest subject because of their presence in the
Romanian educational system from the beginning of the educational stages until the last cycle of studies
conducted by each person.
I consider that the topicality of the theme is in its usefulness and applicability in the educational context
regardless of the stage or cycle we refer to, alternative assessment methods being more and more common
and used in the observation and evaluation of students. They have the main benefit of knowing the individual
and their behavior, skills and abilities, and not just the ability of memorize or learn.
The idea of alternative evaluation has become important, precisely because I appreciated the situations in
which students was subjected to evaluation using these methods that offered them the possibility of
organization, creativity and ingenuity. A reference example could be from a high school discipline, namely
Language and Literature, in which the evaluation could consisted also in the elaboration of a work portfolio
that included several optional individual activities.
In addition, in the academic environment, the idea of portfolio or summative assessment is much more
common because the marks obtained in the seminar count to the final grade, and here is the opportunity for
the student to recover the score while for the exam has only one chance or more in case of arrears).
Practically, assessment can be regarded as a complex process through which the student's level of training
is measured, but this is an indispensable process from the perspective of the didactic framework which
involves both scientific training in the evaluation and discipline field as well as a an extra effort to reduce,
as close to the minimum as possible, the subjectivism in the appraisals it usually makes.

Keywords: education; alternative evaluation methods; qualitative research

I. THEORETICAL APPROACH REGARDING EVALUATION. ISSUES, STRATEGIES


AND METHODS

"Evaluation is a much more complex process, which involves a teacher's scientific training as
well as the effort to minimize subjectivism in the assessments that it usually makes. For the teacher,
evaluation is a step-by-step activity, at the end of which he realizes what the pupil is preparing at a certain
moment in comparison with his expectations and the requirements of the school curriculum. For the pupil,
the assessment is the means by which he realizes how the teacher perceives it, and he appreciates the
training"(Pescaru, 2010 ).

1.1. The Evaluation Issue

"The pedagogical concept of" evaluation "designates a suite of operations to obtain useful
information on the level of students 'training and the quality of the training" (Ciobanu, 2004). In other
words, the students' assessment identifies their level of knowledge and information on the subject matter
field.
Perrone (1991) says that for many of us, the word "evaluation" evokes only the images of the
students who have been skewed over the test brochures over which the peaks of the pencils have finally
gotten "numbers" telling them how well they have learned. However, many educators believe that such a
standardized assessment does not say a lot about students, so it considers that its method can involve much
more than that. Also, from the perspectives of applied didactics (Ciobanu, 2004), evaluation is an extremely
complex action aimed at a wide range of behavioral changes to students, not just their memory capacity. In
addition to the accumulated knowledge, the expected results also refer to the action capabilities of their use
(skills, abilities, competencies); intellectual capacities (reasoning, power of argumentation and
interpretation, growth, etc.) and personality traits (attitudes, behaviors). Practically, it is appreciated that "a
student masters a concept if and only if he can identify the courts as belonging to them, use the concept
name or a synonym of the concept in a meaningful way, understand meaning and rational use of the concept,
to use it in particular cases, to rebuild it on the basis of courts or other relevant properties, to use it in solving
its problems, or to transform it into other situations while preserving its significance and identity"(Neacsu
, 1990, p. 283). So do not just memorize it. The evaluation is much more than just checking students’
memory. "To evaluate is to examine the degree of correspondence between a set of information and a set
of criteria appropriate to the objectives set in order to make decisions" (Ketele, 1982, p.12)

1.2. Evaluation Strategies

"The basic significance of the concept of didactic strategy is that of combining the methods between them,
the methods with the means of education and also with the forms of organizing the activity. The strategy
identifies the optimal way of combining teaching methods, with the means and forms of organizing didactic
activity"(Cerghit, 1988). Strategies refer to the best combination of the means of education, organization of
the activity and evaluation to ensure a level optimal understanding, memorization and application of the
information obtained.
According to Ciobanu (2004), in the Romanian school, three main evaluations are considered
functional:
1. Initial / Predictive Assessment is conducted at the beginning of a training program (semester,
school year, learning unit) and aims to evaluate previous knowledge, student's level of education,
motivation to learn, degree of retention and application as and skills training. Depending on the results of
the evaluation, the teacher will know what teaching methods to apply, which teaching style will address
and how to organize the activity (front, group, individualized, etc.)
2. The formative (continuous / progress / progress) evaluation strategy - is carried out throughout
the training, aiming to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the teaching and learning methods.
"Difficulty in learning is only a matter of time and rhythm. Every student learns not only in his own rhythm
but also in his own way. The assistance needed by each student involves the teacher's knowledge of his
students, their learning strategies, their socio-emotional and intellectual characteristics. Formative
assessment acquires a trainer that the student will have to pursue personal goals and build their own learning
path. "(Bolanu, 2014)
3. Summative (cumulative / balance) assessment strategy - is done at the end of a training period
(semester, school year, school cycle) in order to determine and highlight the learning outcomes as well as
the efficiency and effectiveness of the methods used . "The evaluation of the results (final) is a sort of
balance sheet of the entire activity. This assessment should tell us whether the goal was reached and to what
extent, since the end of a process is, at most, the beginning of another. The final evaluation is part of an
initial assessment. "(Pescaru, 2010, p. 13)
1.3. Evaluation Methods

Ciobanu (2004) says that "In the teaching-learning of economic disciplines mainly oral and
written evaluation methods are used, plus (after 1998) alternative methods. Both categories of methods are
designed to highlight the learning outcomes of learners".
Of the three components of the spiral of education, teaching-learning-evaluation, the latter is
considered a sensitive subject because the effects of evaluative actions are felt not only within the
educational system, but also outside it, namely cultural, social, and even political.
On the other hand, there is a relationship of mutual inter-conditioning between learning-learning-
evaluation, each of which is realized in relation to the other. It is not right to evaluate what has not been
taught or taught, but it does not make sense to teach or teach what is not evaluated.

1.4. Alternatives methods of evaluation

"In assessing students' performance, teachers use both traditional assessment methods (oral,
written, practical) and complementary assessment methods (systematic observation of student activity and
behavior, investigation, project, portfolio, self-evaluation)" (Ionaşcu, 2011).
Although important for testing basic knowledge and skills, traditional methods of assessment are
no longer effective in all situations. Assessment methods should be used to appeal to student creativity,
divergent thinking, or teamwork. "Modern evaluation strategies seek to emphasize that dimension of
evaluative action that gives pupils sufficient and varied possibilities to demonstrate what they know but,
above all, what they can do" (Bălţeanu, 2012).
Practically, "alternative assessment methods complement traditional evaluation methods, due to
relevant formative valences by" (Leaua, 2014):
 The opportunity for the teacher to obtain new and important information on the level of student
education, based on them, the educator bases the value judgment he expresses through a more
objective appreciation of the performances of the children;
 Exercising practical and applied skills of students, ensures a better conceptual and integrative
classification in the notional system of assimilated knowledge, which thus become operational;
 Ensure an interactive approach of the teaching-learning act, adapted to the individualization needs
of the work tasks for each student, capitalizing and stimulating the creative potential and its
originality;
 Permanent image updating on student's performance in relation to their abilities and capabilities;

1.5. Systematic observation

"Systematic observation of students 'activities and behavior during teaching is a necessary


technique to assess students' performance but especially to evaluate affective-attitudinal behaviors. It offers
the teacher a range of diverse and complete information, which is difficult to obtain through traditional
assessment methods"(Balteanu, 2012). Ciobanu (2004) says that observation focuses on pupils' skills and
abilities, on the ability to act but also on how they communicate, how they choose to get involved in lessons
or to pursue their learning tasks. Usually, this information is obtained by the professor through the
individual assessment sheet of each student. It contains factual data about the essential events identified in
the pupil's behavior in a given period, and is interpreted using a grading scale ("a number of pupils'
attention")
1.6. Portfolio evaluation

Portfolio evaluation is a solution specifically addressed by teachers who have few hours allocated
to the subject, which is why an assessment according to the requirements of scientific methodology- is
obstructed.
In addition, it is well known that lately, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the values and the
integrity of the student, in terms of originality and individual development. Portfolio as an alternative
assessment method "favors the identity of the learner's uniqueness, the cultivation of creative skills:
flexibility, elaboration, originality and sensitivity to problems and their redefinition" (Gigea, 2014).
The portfolio includes independent work tasks conducted by the student within a specified time
period (usually a semester), and can be composed of essays, papers, research projects, reviews.It is
especially used to observe interest in a particular subject, but also to enable creative thinking and originality.

1.7. Transferable Criteria Method

Transferable Criterion Method "consists of applying a summative test at the end of a learning unit,
chapter or lesson system, with items referenced to the reference objectives / specific competencies targeted
by the content."(Ciobanu, 2004) Practically, the students receive a test which leads to findings on the level
reached by some of them, who are the ones who have achieved the performance prefigured in objectives,
and have obtained inappropriate results (did not reach the minimum acceptable performance level). In the
case of the latter, the evaluator's final assessment is transferred to a later stage, and they have time to recover,
and at the end of the set period they will be tested again.

II. ELEARNING – BEST PRACTICE FOR ROMANIAN HIGHER EDUCATION


Teaching process is closely to the evaluation process, which is nowadays at the limit between
online and offline, more and more teachers and students prefer modern teaching methods. This paper targets
the attitude and perception of students regarding modern teaching methods including the use of an
eLearning platform. The developed research aims the desire of students in having access to an educational
platform which is designed online so in the conclusion we try to get in the attention of decisional board in
universities and ministries the fact that our higher education system needs a boost, meaning we are in need
to recognize the eLearning benefits.
The idea of eLearning had the premise that with the development of technologies, more and more
students became users of devices with Internet access, allowing them to be connected to the virtual
environment at any time. With the development of the Internet, e-learning platforms have developed, both
because of the benefits for teachers and for students who enjoy the benefits of online resource availability.
Among the main advantages of eLearning platforms we can mention the temporary and spatial availability
of their use, with the students having the opportunity to access the learning information at any time of the
day, after any device that allows an Internet connection.
Another considerable advantage is that of increased information retention, a result obtained by accessing
information at times considered beneficial by users, and not at moments imposed by a certain temporary
time.
Easy access to information is another major advantage of eLearning platforms, allowing users to
access information quickly and easily.
Therefore, we can conclude that the evolution of eLearning platforms have a major role in the
evolution of learning process in higher education institutions, both in terms of easy information
transmission and unlimited access.
Efective Time
Management

Higher
knowledge Easy acess
retention
ELearning

Room of Continuous
discretion availability

Fig. 1. Benefits of ELearning


Source: Research developed by authors

III. RESEARCH IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION

For a better idea about the alternatives methods of evaluation we created a research methodology
who involves the student’s preferences for different methods of his evaluation. The research aims to study
the way students perceive the alternative methods of assessment used by the teacher, who are the most
appreciated among them, and whether they understand the importance of using them in the educational
process.
The research objectives was: Identifying the alternative method of assessment preferred by
students; Measuring the importance of using alternative assessment methods; Determine the extent to which
students are of the opinion that alternative assessment methods highlight learning skills and abilities.

2.1. The study

The study will be based on responses from a semi-conducting interview. These will be analyzed
and interpreted, and conclusions will be drawn on students' attitudes towards alternative assessment
methods, and about their preferences between eLearning or traditional learning.

2.2. Methodology of research

The study will be conducted through a survey based on a structured interview. The sample to which
you have managed the interview will be composed of a group of student’s education in Economics (about
15 individuals).
2.3. Developing the interview guide

The Interview Guide consists of 7 main questions, 2 of the requesting free explanations and 4
demographic questions.

2.4. Interpretation of results

The participants to whom the semi-conducted interview was applied were students from the Faculty
of Marketing, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, because we wanted to determine their attitude
towards the alternative evaluation methods.
In order to obtain the desired results, the respondents offered the following answers

Preferred alternative assessment method

Systematic observation
Transferable Criteria Method
11% Portfolio evaluation
11%

78%

Fig. 2. Preferred alternative assessment method by students


Source: Research developed by authors

In the question about the preferred alternative assessment method within the studied discipline,
most of respondents choose Portfolio as the preferred method.
The respondents were then asked why they considered the alternative assessment method chosen
in question number 2 to best outline a learner's learning abilities and their answers were as follows:
Those who have chosen the Transferable Credit Method responded:
 The transferable credit method would be the most recommended valuation method because
it consists of testing each unit traveled;
 Because it reflects the knowledge acquired by the student and gives him a second chance
if some information has not been understood or omitted;
 Because the teacher will know how much knowledge the student has left after each unit's
learning;
 Because a summative test is performed at the end of a learning unit.

Those who have chosen the Portfolio responded:


 I believe that the alternative assessment method through the portfolio emphasizes the
formation of more pragmatic skills with the correspondence in the real world;
 The alternative assessment method chosen is the portfolio because the teachers see what
the students have learned about that discipline;
 I believe that the alternative assessment method "Portfolio" best emphasizes the learning
ability of a student as he learns for a longer period of time through projects, individual
papers and themes;
 Because the student is making more effort to find and retain information;
 I think that the chosen assessment method outlines the best the learning abilities of a
student, because by realizing the themes and projects, respectively by evaluating the
individual works, the student can be evaluated much more correctly in several respects.
Those who have chosen Systematic Observation responded:
 I think first of all you need to be able to see what it is and then try to evaluate the results;
For this question: "Do you think alternative assessment methods contribute to increasing interest
in a particular discipline?" All respondents provided a positive response, arguing that:
Students are somehow obliged to think their interest in fulfilling their tasks;
 Depending on the applied methods, students may have a higher interest in a given discipline;
 Alternative assessment methods contributed to facilitating the learning process;
 Alternative assessment methods are useful for students who want to see things from another angle;
 Certainly contributes to increasing interest if the chosen assessment method is to the liking of the student;
 Train the students in various discussions;
 I can contribute to the discovery of various abilities.
After that, they were asked if online learning (eLearning) is most effective than offline learning,
and they responded:

Preferred learning method

Online learning (Elearning)

18% Offline learning

82%

Fig. 3. Preferred learning method by students


Source: Research developed by authors

The respondents were then asked why they considered eLearning method chosen in question to
best outline a learner's learning abilities and their answers were as follows:
 High Temporary and Space Availability;
 The ability to resume the content of the information whenever it deems necessary;
 The possibility of choosing the moment the student feels able to learn;
III. CONCLUSIONS

In conclusion, we can say that alternative assessment methods are preferred by both teachers and
students because, depending on the preferences for a certain discipline or the time available for preparing
the exam, learning and acquiring the concepts, alternative methods gives them the opportunity to express
their creativity and organizational spirit or to prepare themselves for certain tests.
We also found that the alternative assessment methods preferred by the student are two, namely
the portfolio, because it offers them the possibility to deepen the matter in the process of searching
information for the achievement of the themes and projects, but also because it offers them the possibility
- and express their views and give a different view to the topic of discussion, but also the transferable credit
method because they have the opportunity to recover from the scoring or the omitted information, but this
method is not generally accepted precisely because of the repetitive character and the inequality of
opportunities.
Another conclusion would be that the use of these alternative assessment methods is very
important because students are more receptive and accessible than typing, more easily retaining information
when they do not feel obliged to do so, and contribute to the development different creative skills,
organizing both the written documents and the time allocated for the elaboration and design of the themes
and projects, the teamwork, and the communication skills developed during the project support.
Also the evaluation process is very dependable of the learning process and according to the
developed research, students prefer more elearning platforms instead of traditional methods.
As mentioned above, students are of the view that alternative assessment methods used in
economic disciplines contribute to highlighting their skills but are not very pleased with systematic
observation, considering their attitudes, reactions and behavior in courses and seminars do not highlight to
a great extent their ability to retain information, the degree of attention or knowledge they have gained, but
regardless of the method of assessment, the preferred learning method for students are the elearning
platforms.

Reference Text and Citations

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