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A cross-cultural study of students’ perceptions of assessment practices in higher education

Mahmoud F. Alquraan (Special Education Department, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Ma'an, Jordan)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to utilized the item response theory (IRT) rating scale model to analyze students’ perceptions of assessment practices in two universities: one in Jordan and the other in the USA. The sample of the study consisted of 506 university students selected from both universities. Results show that the two universities still focus on paper-pencil testing to assess students’ learning outcomes. The study recommends that higher education institutes should encourage their teachers to use different assessment methods to assess students’ learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The convenience sample consisted of 506 selected university students from the USA and Jordan, and participants were distributed according to their educational levels, thus: 83 freshmen, 139 sophomores, 157 juniors and 59 seniors. (Note: some students from both universities did not report their gender and/or their educational level). The USA university sample consisted of 219 students from three colleges at a major university in the southeast of the USA studying for arts and sciences, education and commerce and business qualifications, of whom 43 were males and 173 were females. The study used the Students Perception of Assessment Practices Inventory developed by Alquraan (2007), and for the purpose of this study, the RUMM2020 program was used for its rating scale model.

Findings

Both universities, in Jordan and the USA, still focus more on the developmental (construction of assessment tasks), organizational and planning aspects of assessment processes than they do on assessments of learning and assessment methods (traditional and new assessment methods). The assessment practices that are used frequently in both universities based on the teachers sampled are: “(I27) I know what to study for the test in this class”, “(I6) Teacher provides a good environment during test administration” and “(I21) My teacher avoids interrupting students as they are taking tests”. This indicates that teachers in the selected universities have a tendency to focus on the administrative and communicative aspects of assessment (e.g. providing a good environment during test administration) more than on using different assessment methods (e.g. portfolios, new technology, computers, peer and self-assessment) or even using assessment practices that help students learn in different ways (e.g. assessing students’ prior knowledge and providing written feedback on the graded tests).

Originality/value

This is a cross-cultural study focus assessment of students learning in higher education.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research was approved by IRB, University of Alabama Office.

Citation

F. Alquraan, M. (2014), "A cross-cultural study of students’ perceptions of assessment practices in higher education", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 293-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBS-08-2014-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited