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formative assessment, feedback, mechanical engineering science, online virtual learning


Background: Practice exams are a type of formative feedback. These can be administered through learning management systems such as D2L and Canvas as low stakes assessment. This paper intends to show the relationship between students’ participation in online practice exams and their scores on the actual exams.
Research Questions: Does participation in timed, online practice exams correlate with improved actual exam performance on similar questions? Does a correct answer in a timed, online practice exam correlate with obtaining the correct answer on the actual exam on a similar question? Does participation in timed, online practice exams correlate with improved overall course grades?
Design/Method: The context of data collection includes mechanical engineering courses taught by the same instructor across thermodynamics, heat transfer, and dynamics. The practice exam questions and actual exam questions were designed from textbook homework questions, but with different surface characteristics. One question on the actual exam closely matched the single practice exam question provided. The students received an instant score from D2L or Canvas. This correlational study reviewed the factors of participation and score on practice exam, on the outcomes of score on actual exam and overall course grades.
Results: Participation in practice exams correlates well with improved exam scores and improved overall course grades by about 1 letter grade for younger students. The score on the practice exam does not correlate with actual exam performance. Conclusions: Formative feedback is beneficial to younger students. There are many types of formative feedback. Engineering educators should adopt an appropriate form of formative feedback for younger students in exams.






South Dakota State University


© American Society for Engineering Education, 2020. Posted with permission.