e-Assessment for learning: Can online multiple-choice and extended matching questions really provide useful formative feedback?


  • John Dermo University of Bradford
  • Liz Carpenter University of Bradford


This article investigates the impact on learning of generic feedback provided automatically after online selected response questions, such as multiple-choice or extended matching questions. Students on a foundation degree biology module were given the opportunity to engage with a formative e-assessment task which gave them detailed and extensive feedback on each question in order to help focus their learning and revision in preparation for an online summative assessment. Quantitative data analysis was used to ascertain whether there was an association between student progress and their level of engagement with the formative feedback task. In addition, students were surveyed on their attitudes towards this kind of formative e-assessment. The article concludes that student attitudes to formative e-assessment are generally very positive and that there is evidence to suggest that increased engagement with formative e-assessment tasks like this can be linked to increased progress, especially if the students see the feedback as part of the learning process.