Definition: The ‘e’ in e-assessment stands for ‘electronic’. E-assessment is thus defined as when computers are used to support assessment for / of learning1.
Description:E-assessment ranges from simple computer-based tests with multiple-choice questions to complex and multimedia rich simulations, games, case studies and e-portfolios. It is the corresponding assessment phenomenon to e-learning, i.e. to the practice of computer supported learning. E-assessment can be used both for high-stakes and for low-stakes testing, as well as both for summative and formative assessment. Common topics in e-assessment include distribution and collection of responses as well as construction and marking of questions and tasks.
Benefits:E-assessment can free time for teachers that they otherwise would have needed to spend on administrative tasks associated to assessing students. This makes it an approach that can help teachers increase their emphasis on formative assessment and feedback, which could otherwise be too time consuming to apply in practice. E-assessment can also be used to let computers adapt questions and tasks to each student’s individual circumstances and replies. The more complex forms of e-assessment can also be used to assess higher-order thinking and transferable skills.
Challenges: Many of the less complex forms of e-assessment rely on simple right-or-wrong questions, and have therefore been accused to rely on and promote an outdated model of surface learning, focusing solely on recall of simple facts2. While more complex forms of e-assessment espace such criticism, the resulting problem is instead the high cost and difficulty in designing and validating questions and tasks.
Applied to entrepreneurial teaching: The less complex forms of e-assessment can be used in entrepreneurial teaching to increase the focus on formative assessment. Short quizzes can be administered while a course is still on-going, allowing for adjustments and feedback. The more complex forms of e-assessment often require solutions tailored to the specific entrepreneurial contents and processes fo a course or a program. There are a number of entrepreneurship specific simulations and games available. Examples include SimVenture, MarkStrat and SimBrand3. Another possibility to use e-assessment in entrepreneurial teaching is to use applications not specifically designed for assessment, such as word processors, online forums and social media. An interesting avenue for the future is to use computers to facilitate the experiential and action-based nature of many kinds of entrepreneurial education. This has become more inexpensive as many students today have access to a smartphone where apps can be easily deployed for assessment purposes.
1 Isaacs, T., Zara, C., Herbert, G., Coombs, S. J. & Smith, C. 2013. Key concepts in educational assessment, London, UK, Sage Publications.
2 Boyle, A. & Hutchison, D. 2009. Sophisticated tasks in e‐assessment: what are they and what are their benefits? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(3), 305-319.
3 Vos, L. 2015. Simulation games in business and marketing education: How educators assess student learning from simulations. The International Journal of Management Education, 13(1), 57-74.