Effect of Multiple Chance Testing on Student Performance and Perception

April 6, 2024

We just published an article in the International Journal of Engineering Education on multiple chance testing in an engineering course.

A. Kaw, R. Clark, “Effects of Standards-Based Testing via Multiple-Chance Testing on Cognitive and Affective Outcomes in an Engineering Course,” International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 40, (2), 2024, pp. 303-321. 

The article is behind a paywall, but you can ask me to send a preprint.

In this article, we explore the concept of standards-based grading and its potential benefits for student learning. We also discussed my reservations about adopting standards-based grading in a large enrollment class and proposed an alternative approach, standards-based testing with multiple-chance testing. The findings of our study indicate that implementing multiple-chance testing resulted in higher student performance, more ‘A’ grades, and a more positive classroom environment. Students appreciated the enhanced learning experience, the opportunity for retakes, and the reduced stress associated with standards-based testing. However, some students mentioned the issue of not knowing their ongoing overall grade in the course. I believe that this manuscript will be of interest to your readers, as it provides a practical approach to implementing standards-based grading principles in large enrollment classes. It also raises important questions about using multiple-chance testing and its potential advantages and drawbacks for students and instructors.

Abstract: Multiple-chance testing was used to conduct standards-based testing in a blended-format numerical methods course for engineering undergraduates. The process involved giving multiple chances on tests and post-class learning management system quizzes. The effectiveness of standards-based testing was evaluated through various forms of assessment, including an analysis of cognitive and affective outcomes, and compared to a blended classroom that did not use standards-based testing. Based on a two-part final exam, a concept inventory, final course grades, a classroom environment inventory, and focus groups, the results showed that standards-based testing had overall positive effects. Standards-based testing was associated with a more significant percentage of students (15% vs. 3%) earning a high final exam score, a higher proportion of A grades (36% vs. 27%), and a better classroom environment on dimensions of involvement, cohesiveness, and satisfaction. Focus group discussions revealed that students appreciated the benefits of enhanced learning, second chances, and reduced stress with standards-based testing. The study also included an analysis of the impact of standards based testing on underrepresented minorities, Pell Grant recipients (low socioeconomic groups), and low-GPA students, as well as an examination of test-retaking behaviors. The methodology and comprehensive results of the study are presented in this paper.