Formative Online Assessment in E-Learning participate in the evaluation process (Banta, 2003). Therefore, portfolio is more than a type of assessment, implying a new consideration of the teaching process; most importantly, the portfolio involves a process, rather than a final aim (Agra, Gewerc, & Montero, 2003). Trudi Cooper suggests six steps in a portfoliobuilding process (Cooper, 1997; Cooper & Emden, 2000; Cooper, Hutchins, & Sims, 1999): 1. To identify the areas of skills that the student should develop. 2. Taking into account these skill areas, to develop specific learning outcomes to be achieved by the students. 3. To identify appropriate learning strategies so that students can achieve their learning outcomes. 4. To identify performance indicators that establish whether students have achieved their learning outcomes andindicate the evidence the students need to collect. 5. To collect evidence that demonstrates the students have met the performance indicators. 6. To organize this evidence in a portfolio so that teachers can easily understand how the evidence relates to each performance indicator. The benefits of portfolio-based assessment over other assessment approaches have been well established (see, for example, Biggs & Tang, 1997; Brooks & Madda, 1999; Cooper, 1999; Hutchins, Sims, & Cooper, 1999). Love and Cooper (2004) point out the main advantages of this tool, such as its capacity to contain many different types of evidence and from different sources, the active involvement of students in their processes, equity, and moderation in the assessment process and its suitability to assessment in lifelong learning contexts. Moreover, portfolios provide a means for students to learn to manage their own professional development, since they offer them easy access to evidence of professional or generic graduate skills (Cooper, 1999; Cooper & Love, 2000, 2001a, 2002). Online portfolios (the process of presenting via Web digital evidence of progress of achievement) have the added advantage of the interactivity provided by the Web, and the easier possibility of organization and updating of the material. Used in conjunction with appropriate software solutions, online portfolio-based assessment can relieve teachers of some of the more tedious aspects of assessment and permit parts of the assessment process to be automated (Cooper & Love, 2001b). As Agra et al. (2003) describe in their experience of implementation of online portfolio in a postgraduate degree, students’ portfolios were accessible online for tutors and peers, so that teachers could view students’ process and give feedback to them, and students could also interchange ideas fluidly with their peers. A cAse study: seLF-Assessment And LeArnIng This case study illustrates an innovative teaching experience in the Psychology Faculty at the University of the Basque Country. In this study a computer-assisted assessment tool (Hot Potatoes) was used to design and apply self-assessment exercises that are automatically corrected online (Ibabe, Gómez, & Jauregizar, 2006). Learner satisfaction and learning perception was evaluated. The main aim of this project was to verify whether interactive self-assessment improved university students’ academic results on their Data Analysis course. The procedure employed was as follows. First of all, we acquired additional service of TexToys Creative Technology program (http://www.hotpotatoes.net/help/lw.php) in order to record the results of the Hot Potatoes assessment. Next, we
Formative Online Assessment in E-Learning Figure 1. Students’ final marks depending on the use or nonuse of the self-assessment tool % of students 40 30 20 10 users non-users 0 d c B A A+ student's final marks designed self-assessment exercises (multiplechoice, short-answer questions, fill-in the blanks exercises, crosswords, etc.) in HTML format. Twenty items were designed for each unit of the teaching program (100 items in total). Furthermore, each unit included some revision exercises and a final exercise including content from all the units. It was explained to students that using the tool would not mean they obtained higher final marks. The self-assessment items were published on the Internet as each unit was finished in class. At the end of the semester, students completed a questionnaire about their satisfaction with the self-assessment tool, and their learning perception. Finally, summative assessment marks were awarded. A high proportion of students used the selfassessment tool (46% of all students registered), considering that the exercises were voluntary, with no extra incentive, outside of the normal timetable and with the requirement of an Internet connection. Results show an acceptable rate of satisfaction among students who used Hot Potatoes. Sixty-six percent of students “agreed” or “totally agreed” with the statement, The tool was useful for revising the content explained in the classroom. Similarly, 66% of the learners agreed” or “totally agreed” with the statement, The exercises were useful for understanding and processing the information. In response to the item, In my opinion, self-assessment exercises can be a useful complementary tool for learning, 80% “agreed” or “totally agreed.” The mean of all of items, on a Likert scale from 1 to 5, was 3.8. The results suggest that students who use interactive self-assessment exercises as a complementary study tool obtain better final marks. There is a positive correlation between the frequency with which students use these exercises and academic results, r (81) = .24, p < .05. Obviously, the correlation between the number of exercises done and the final mark was also positive, r (81) = .25, p < .05. In other words, students who do more self-assessment exercises obtain higher final marks. Figure 1 was designed to show the kind of student that makes use of self-assessment exercises. The results indicate that the majority of students with higher marks (B, A, or A+) had used selfassessment tool. In short, interactive self-assessment exercises can act as formative assessment tools for improving students’ learning process and learning satisfaction, thus increasing the quality of education.