Bamford, David, Karjalainen, K. and Jenavs, E. (2012) An evaluation of problem-based assessment in teaching operations management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 32 (12). pp. 1493-1514. ISSN 0144-3577

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to respond to calls for in-depth studies of production and operations management (OM) teaching by providing an analysis of the relative effectiveness of a continuous problem-based assessment and a traditional final exam assessment in OM.

Design/methodology/approach – An undergraduate OM module is used to assess how well a problem-based assessment method performs against a more traditional final exam in terms of impact on student learning, student classification and feasibility. Quantitative data on student performance, feedback and satisfaction are used.

Findings – The analysis shows that the problem-based assessment provides a better learning experience for the students, but is a worse classificatory of student results than the conventional exam. In terms of feasibility, problem-based assessment can be a cost-effective assessment method.

Research limitations/implications – This study analyses the assessment method used on one module for nine years; to increase the generalizability of the findings further research is needed with different modules and contexts.

Practical implications – This paper gives guidance to OM educators on how to improve assessment methods to achieve both improved learning effects as well as an accurate classification of student performance.

Originality/value – This study extends the literature on problem-based learning to assessments and provides an empirical analysis of one such method. This study also provides detailed analysis of different assessment methods in OM based on longitudinal data.