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Assessment of Complex Learning Outcomes in Online Learning Environments

Assessment of Complex Learning Outcomes in Online Learning Environments
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Author(s): Mahnaz Moallem (University of North Carolina, Wilmington and National Science Foundation, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 9
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch015


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One of the most challenging issues facing educators in all levels of formal schooling, particularly higher education, is assessment of complex learning outcomes of what is called “21st century skills” (Bennett, Persky, Weissm, & Jenkins (NAEP), 2007). Faculty, administrators, students, parents, and the public at large are increasingly concerned about how assessment is conducted in higher education (Reeves, 2000). Scholars have also questioned current approaches to assessing institutional quality (Callan & Finney, 2002; Ewell, 2002), indicating assessing student learning should be the fundamental purpose of higher education. Over the years, various types of assessment models have been developed. The newer assessment models address complex learning outcomes and support measuring learning more authentically and providing alternatives to the conventional, test-based assessment models (Glaser & Silver, 1994; Resnick & Resnick, 1992; Sanders, 2001). Alternative assessment models and methods promise to promote authentic, real world learning, and to provide a diversity of learning opportunities so students are able to display critical thinking skills and greater depth of knowledge, connect learning to their daily lives, develop a deeper dialog over the course material, and foster both individual and group oriented learning activities (Muirhead, 2002).

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