Longitudinal Study II

A 3-Year Longitudinal Study into the Effect of Assessment on Student Learning Outcomes (2010 – 2013)

About the research

The effect of assessment on students’ learning outcomes has been widely discussed in the higher education research literature (Gibbs and Simpson 2004-05, Biggs and Tang 2007).  Research in educational psychology (Pintrich 2003, Elliot & McGregor 2001, Urdan 2004) and higher education (Richardson 2000, Kember and Leung 2006, Cano 2005) showed that there are also other factors that will affect students’ approach to learning and hence the quality of their learning.  These include, perceived workload and competitiveness, motivation to study (intrinsic and extrinsic goals, academic self-efficacy, academic task values, control beliefs in academic performance), conception of learning and epistemological beliefs.

This study aimed to examine how students were being assessed in their UG programs and the direct and indirect effect of assessment on students’ learning behaviors and outcomes.  The inclusion of the various factors in the study allowed us to acquire a more in-depth and thorough understanding of how the various factors interact to shape students’ learning behaviors and outcomes.

A mixed method approach was adopted in this study, including both quantitative and qualitative research methods.  The former helped us to understand the relative importance of the different factors in shaping students’ learning behaviors and outcomes, and the latter improved our understanding on the processes through which these different factors interacted.

Data collection

Data were collected at the end of every semester.  Students were asked to respond to the survey questionnaires based on their experience of a randomly chosen course they studied in the semester.


The research sample consisted of 421 students randomly selected from the 2010-2013 cohort using a stratified random sampling method with school affiliation as the stratifying variable. 


  • Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university: what the student does.  Open University Press.
  • Cano F. (2005) Epistemological beliefs and approaches to learning: their change through secondary school and their influence on academic performance. British Journal Educational Psychology, 75(2) 203-21.
  • Elliot, A. J. and McGregor, H. A. (2001) A 2 x 2 achievement goal framework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 80(3) 501-519.
  • Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2003 September). Measuring the response of students to assessment: the Assessment Experience Questionnaire. The 11th Improving Student Learning Symposium, Leicestershire, UK.
  • Kember and Leung (2006). Characterising a teaching and learning environment conducive to making demands on students while not making their workload excessive Studies in Higher Education 31(2) 185–198
  • Printrich, P. R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology 95(4) 667-686.
  • Richardson, J. T. E. (2000) Researching student learning – approaches to studying in campus-based and distance education.  SRHE and Open University Press.
  • Urdan, T. (2004). Predictors of academic self-handicapping and achievement: examining achievement goals, classroom goal structures, and culture. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96 (2), 251-264.