English: Multiple-choice questions, short questions and exercises were used to assess the performance
of students in environmental and water sciences at the University of the
Western Cape (Bellville, South Africa). The objectives were to evaluate and compare
these three assessment methods, and to indicate which were particularly appropriate
for the various modules and academic years. Altogether 136 test and examination
papers were marked. Students generally performed better in multiple-choice questions
compared to short questions, while their performance on short exercises was the
poorest. No significant difference in performance was found between the academic years.
Multiple-choice questions are suitable for large classes, but short questions and exercises
are recommended as they facilitate the assessment of conceptual knowledge and
practical problem-solving skills.