Exploring the Validity of Continuous Assessment in a First-Year Programming Course at a Comprehensive Open Distance e-Learning University
Keywords:continuous assessment, validity, authenticity, programming, e-learning
Continuous assessments are commonly used to determine students’ level of understanding to implement measures to address any shortcomings. Assessment practices of programming courses at distance universities have always had numerous drawbacks due to large student bodies and time constraints. The large student body, in most instances, creates questions related to the validity and authenticity of the assessments. Time constraints in grading large numbers of assessments create questions related to the validity and authenticity of the feedback on assessments. The assumption is that the more assessments required for programming courses in a distance learning environment, the more chances there are for cheating and the less time there is to provide feedback for learning. This paper will investigate and report on assessment practices that were adopted in a first-year programming course to ensure valid authentic continuous assessment. Experiences shared in this paper offer programming instructors and the e-learning community, in general, an opportunity to make decisions on the extent to which they can use the continuous assessment strategies employed in their own settings.