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An Investigation into E-Tool Use for Formative Assignment Assessment--Status and Recommendations

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Journal of Educational Technology & Society Volume 12, Number 4, ISSN 1176-3647 e-ISSN 1176-3647


This article reports on a comprehensive study, investigating the use of e-tools for formative assignment assessment. The study conducted a large-scale literature review and interviews with 90 academics at five New Zealand tertiary institutions. The focus of the study was on formative assessment provided in assignments, an area in which educational theories on importance for learning and on best practice are well established. Yet, research shows that these theories have failed to influence tertiary practice sufficiently to ensure the best possible outcomes for student learning. The interview data collected were analysed according to motivation, needs and benefits as perceived by lecturers and educational principles as derived from the literature. Both the literature and the interview analysis showed a strong positive impact from using e-tools for the management and marking of assignments. Widely available e-learning and general purpose computer tools can be used effectively to support lecturers in dealing with assignments. Specialised assignment tools provide opportunities for even greater gains. The use of e-tools means time savings for the lecturers and enables quality gains in the assignment process. E-tools have the potential to assist with uptake of the well-established educational theories. This article summarises important aspects of the literature review and the interview analysis conducted as part of the study. It provides recommendations in the form of suggestions on which tools are suitable for specific steps in the assignment process and alerts the reader to the website where there are user profiles supported by case studies and an action plan. All these recommendations are targeted at encouraging and enabling lecturers to employ e-tools for the management and marking of assignments. (Contains 2 tables.)


Heinrich, E., Milne, J. & Moore, M. (2009). An Investigation into E-Tool Use for Formative Assignment Assessment--Status and Recommendations. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 176-192. Retrieved October 21, 2019 from .

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