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Abstract Title: Student perceptions of pre-assessments: "It's basically just guessing anyways''
Abstract: Pre-assessments are common tools for research and pedagogy in higher education, but they may pose risks that are largely unexplored. To investigate potential risks to students, instructors, and researchers, we conducted ten semi-structured interviews with college students about their experiences taking pre-assessments. The students unanimously found pre-assessments to be non-threatening and their performance on them to be inconsequential.

They did not interpret pre-assessments as a predictor of success or indicator of their inherent ability. Instead, the students attributed their pre-assessment performance to having previously taken a relevant course with similar assessment items.
As a result, half of the students were not motivated at all to put effort into taking the pre-assessment..
The students believed that pre-assessments are intended to inform the instructor in making tailored course revisions to meet student needs.
Students valued pre-assessments more if they believed that the instructor uses the pre-assessment results to make course revisions, but half of the students disbelieved that their instructor does so.

Taken together, our findings suggest that pre-assessments do not pose a direct risk to students, but they may indirectly affect students' learning experience or relationship with the instructor if the use of pre-assessments undermines the instructor's credibility. Moreover, students' lack of motivation to complete pre-assessments can render them an inaccurate measure for instructors and researchers. We therefore encourage instructors and researchers to clearly communicate the specific uses of a pre-assessment to students before assigning it.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session 1 Room A
Poster Number: 1A-4
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Scott Allen
Cornell University
NY Phone: 18019715391
and Co-Presenter(s)
Anna Phillips, Cornell University
Rene Kizilcec, Cornell University