Student experience


Empowering students with choice when it comes to assessment is shown to have a positive impact on student satisfaction and success, with previous studies finding a more flexible approach to assessment can promote engagement and performance. However, very little is known about why students choose certain types of assessment. Building on previous research, this study examines the many factors that influence student choice of assessment in an undergraduate business unit. Leveraging data collected over two semesters, our study found that student choice of assessment was primarily influenced by whether students thought the assessment was interesting, with 46% of overall respondents stating that this strongly influenced their decision. Requirements easy to understand (41%) and Better schedule fit (39%) rounded out the top three reasons for choosing an assessment. In contrast, only 22% of students were strongly influenced by the relevance of the assessment to their current career and 23% to the relevance to their future career. This raises some critical questions for educators, and the higher education sector more broadly, given the apparent focus on the creation of career-ready graduates. As such, our results can help higher education institutes determine the best possible mix of assessment tasks, by better understanding the wants and needs of students in order to provide a high quality learner experience.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Providing students with assessment choice can increase their sense of self-determination and proactivity in managing their own learning.
  2. Studies indicate that a flexible assessment approach enhances student engagement, positively impacting satisfaction and success.
  3. Student assessment choice is mostly influenced by perceived interest in the task (46%), while relevance to current or future career has little impact (22% and 23% respectively).
  4. Educators should provide interesting assessments and clearly communicate the purpose and relevance of assessment to students.
  5. Providing clear assessment guidelines can help students make informed choices and reduce issues such as choice overload and anxiety.