African Journal of Chemical Education

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Developing and implementing assessment moderation procedures to evaluate written laboratory reports

Sintayehu Leshe


In evaluating laboratory reports, assessment criteria must be clearly established and made explicit to  students before the lab activities so students can focus their efforts and the instructors will concentrate on major learning outcomes during marking the laboratory reports. This paper is intended to help draw assessment moderation procedures to significantly minimize discrepancies between teachers in marking lab reports. It also helps students to develop their report writing skills. A population of 193 students taking two chemistry laboratory courses and a team of three instructors were used as research group. The students were required to respond on the extent of instructors’ subjectivity during marking lab reports, and on its impact on their motivation and learning. Marks given by the instructors to lab reports were compared and evaluated for significant differences. Based on the responses of the students and marks issued by the instructors, a moderation procedure was proposed, implemented and evaluated for its effectiveness in improving students’ motivation and learning. The research showed that there is a clear observation and evidence of lack of skills on students’ side about report writing before moderation. It also indicated that teachers assessed the reports on subjective basis rather than objectively designed marking criteria. The implementation of the moderation procedure helped reducing the instructors’ discrepancies in marking lab reports and brought significant improvements on students’ motivation and achievements. [African Journal of Chemical Education—AJCE 6(1), January 2016]

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