Improving Workgroup Assessment with WebAVALIA: The Concept, Framework and First Results

Rosalina Babo, Jarkko T Suhonen, Markku Tukiainen
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 19  •  2020  •  pp. 157-184

The purpose of this study is to develop an efficient methodology that can assist the evaluators in assessing a variable number of individuals that are working in groups and guarantee that the assessment is dependent on the group members’ performance and contribution to the work developed.

Collaborative work has been gaining more popularity in academic settings. However, group assessment needs to be performed according to each individual’s performance. The problem rests on the need to distinguish each member of the group in order to provide fair and unbiased assessments.

Design Science Research methodology supported the design of a framework able to provide the evaluator with the means to distinguish individuals in a workgroup and deliver fair results. Hevner’s DSR guidelines were fulfilled in order to describe WebAVALIA. To evaluate the framework, a quantitative study was performed and the first results are presented.

This paper provides a methodological solution regarding a fair evaluation of collaborative work through a tool that allows its users to perform their own assessment and peer assessment. These are made accordingly to the user’s perspectives on the performance of each group member throughout the work development.

The first analysis of the results indicates that the developed method provides fairness in the assessment of group members, delivering a distinction amongst individuals. Therefore, each group member obtains a mark that corresponds to their specific contribution to the workgroup.

For those who intend to apply this workgroup assessment method, it is relevant to raise student awareness about the methodology that is going to be used. That is, all the functionalities and steps in WebAVALIA have to be thoroughly explained before beginning of the project. Then, the evaluators have to decide about the students’ intermediate voting, namely if the evaluator chooses or not to publish student results throughout the project’s development. If there is the decision to display these intermediate results, the evaluator must try to encourage collaboration among workgroup members, instead of competition.

This study explores the design and development of an e-assessment tool – WebAVALIA. In order to assess its feasibility, its use in other institutions or contexts is recommended. The gathering of user opinions is suggested as well. It would then be interesting to compare the findings of this study with the results from other experimentations

Sometimes, people develop a rejection of collaborative work because they feel exploited due to the biased evaluation results. However, the group members assessment distinction, according to each one’s performance, may give each individual a sense of fairness and reward, leading to an openness/willingness towards collaborative work.

As future work, there are plans to implement the method in other group assessment contexts – such as sports and business environments, other higher education institutions, technical training students – in other cultures and countries. From this myriad of contexts, satisfaction results would be compared. Other future plans are to further explore the mathematical formulations and the respective WebAVALIA supporting algorithms.

WebAVALIA, software tools, evaluation tools, self and peer assessment, higher education
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