Student Buy-In Toward Formative Assessments

Student Buy-In Toward Formative Assessments: The Influence of Student Factors and Importance for Course Success - Kathleen R. Brazeal, Brian A. Couch.

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Brazeal and Couch consider existing research verifying the usefulness of formative assessments (FAs) for student learning and engagement, but noticed a gap in research regarding the effect of student buy-in for FAs. For this article, they are considering student buy-in to be the relevancy and importance of FAs as felt by the students, while considering the intrinsic factors that can influence student buy-in.

For data collection, Brazeal and Couch looked at the context of FAs in 12 biology courses taught at UNL and administered surveys to get an idea of the perception students had of FAs. They scored student buy-in on a scale of 0-10 and used demographic and academic performance information previously obtained by the institutional research office to account for FA buy-in predictors. After the data was collected, they used linear statistical models to analyze the relationship between the dependent variable and the predictor variables. These models were used to look at the effect of predictors on the buy-in score for each FA type and to help determine whether FA buy-in scores predicted exam and overall grades accurately.

They found a wide range of relationships between FA buy-in scores for each FA type, though they noticed that demographic characteristics, previous experiences, and incoming academic performance did influence a few select FA types. Student perceptions, behaviors, and beliefs tended to influence FA buy-in more than determining the effectiveness of a certain FA type. Brazeal and Couch did acknowledge the importance of instructional implementation for the success of in and post-class FAs. For all FA types, outside of in-class activities, they found that a higher buy-in score predicted higher exam and course grades.

What this means for instructors is it's now a bit easier to see the importance of not only FAs in general, but the commitment the instructor shows themselves. The examples given by Brazeal and Couch regarding FA buy-in include: "instructors can make tractable changes to improve student buy-in", "instructors should spend time and effort cultivating student buy-in" and "instructors can work to improve student buy-in, particularly out-of-class FAs, by empowering students to take ownership of their learning."

To find more about formative assessment, check out Knute Broady Collection's Assessment Page.