The purpose of this paper is to simultaneously investigate a variety of factors related to assignment completion (AC) (i.e. task orientation, cooperation, teacher feedback, time management and time spent on AC).
The study relied on a self-report survey to assess students' perceptions in relation to six variables. Participants included 1,106 undergraduate students from six public Thai universities. Analysis involved structural equation modeling.
This study provided new results related to task orientation as the strongest predictor of AC and time management. Cooperation and feedback improved AC with time management as an intervening variable. Time management and feedback did not predict time spent on AC.
Future studies might explore the potential range of assignments that, for example, count for a higher portion of the grade versus those that are less or unimportant in terms of the course. Future studies might also look at the role of group assignments in relation to completion. Semi-structured interviews or observations might provide insights into how students manage their time and why task orientation has the most effect on AC. Future research might investigate more specifically at what point time management does or does not affect completion. In general, given the growth of online learning and contexts in which students may be increasingly called on to complete assignments independently, factors such as those investigated in this study will require more attention in varying countries and contexts, generically and for individual subjects.
Instructional designers and instructors can promote task orientation through reliance on strategic scaffolding. For designing a task-oriented environment, instructors need to offer challenging assignments. Instructors should also assign work that encourages motivation, effort and achievement. To ensure that cooperative learning positively affects time management, instructors and designers can allot specific in-class time for completion of tasks, reliance on flipped classroom activities and student conversations regarding time restrictions and time-management skills. Instructors can be supported to help them provide appropriate types of feedback, as well as ideas for implementing the feedback in practice.
Little research has been conducted on AC in higher education. Those studies that have been conducted have focused on the elementary and secondary levels. Furthermore, studies have not always taken into account the complex relationships between different factors that can potentially influence AC.
This research received financial backing from the Phetpajomkao Scholarship Fund, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand.
Suamuang, W., Suksakulchai, S. and Murphy, E. (2020), "Factors affecting assignment completion in higher education", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-12-2019-0309Download as .RIS
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