Computer Based Assessment - The Chemistry Quiz

Steve Walker

Abstract


This series of programs has been developed at Liverpool over the last three to four years in response to two convergent needs - insistence on a minimum numeric competency from students and a reduction in the amount of staff time involved in assessment. There is evidence that both criteria are being satisfied.

Chemistry Departments have been struggling for some time now with the reluctance of students to carry out even simple mathematical exercises. Physical chemists have borne the brunt of this problem but matters came to a head in Liverpool a few years ago when inorganic chemists realised that a substantial minority could not work out their titrations. The staff agreed that this constituted a skill that all competent professional chemists must acquire and so instituted a test which students had to pass to proceed further in their course. This resulted in the test being retaken as often as necessary until a pass mark was obtained. The amount of work required of staff in setting and marking as many tests as were required can be imagined.

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