An Implementation Framework For Online Assessments In Public Universities: A Case Of Maseno University
Public Universities in Kenya have embraced lCTs in the management of educational programs. In 2007, Maseno University set up an e-campus to facilitate online delivery of education programmes to students within the country, East Africa and beyond. Assessments play an essential part in education as it assists one in finding the quality of learning and examining what the student knows. The increase in students' enrollments in public universities has put pressure on lecturers who cannot mark and give timely feedback to students. The growing need to carter for adult learners living in far off places, to improve the operational reliability of assessment processes, to provide quicker end to end services, to mitigate the decreasing availability of expert assessment personnel, to control overheads and running costs, the maturing user capability and increasing availability of technological options and solutions are driving online assessments in public universities. The researcher carried out an extensive review of online assessments in public universities, identified challenges that students, lecturers and institutions face in the use of online assessments, established the extent to which online assessments can be implemented in public universities and developed an implementation framework for online assessments. An implementation gap exists between the desired online assessments systems and how to get there. This gap prevents public universities from developing an effective online assessment plan to yield meaningful results at the student, course, program and college levels. To alleviate this, Service oriented framework for assessment (SOFA), Sabbah model, Modular assessment system for modem learning settings (MASS), E-assessment procedures checklist (EPC) and Lloyd framework were compared and contrasted using a Venn diagram, and Lloyd framework was then extended by incorporating key components from the frameworks studied to develop an implementation framework. Data was collected through the use of questionnaires distributed to students and lecturers of Maseno University, focused interviews were conducted with the lecturers to offer method triangulation. The results of the study showed that summative assessment is the main form of online assessments used in public universities; the online assessments offered are relevant to learning outcomes since they are aligned to the curriculum. Numerous challenges including lack of human capacity, unreliability of the technology and high costs of implementations plague the use of online assessments in public universities. The facilities necessary for implementation of online assessments were found to be inadequate in public universities. The Extended Lloyd framework was tested and validated through the research conducted and was found to be adequate for adoption in the implementation of online assessments across public universities. The study revealed that public universities must create awareness, provide necessary facilities for online assessments and train user support team to encourage the use of online assessment, however, further research is necessary to enhance the credibility of online assessments practice.