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EDU Support Blackboard Instructor Assignments, Assessments & Exams How to assess your students' learning? Assessment Examples

Assessment Examples Blackboard

Choosing the right mode of assessment starts by identifying why and what you want to assess. Here, we provide some concrete examples of assessment methods by first providing a list of methods that can be used for both summative and formative purposes. Additionally, you’ll find a list of low-threshold strategies that can be used specifically for formative purposes.


Methods that serve assessment for and of learning 

Assessment of learning (summative assessment) is heavily associated with timed exams consisting of multiple-choice or open-ended questions. However, as this list (which is far from exhaustive) indicates, there are a plethora of options to choose from, most of which can be used to assess all cognitive levels of learning. Moreover, it also illustrates that the boundary between assessment for learning (formative) and assessment of learning (summative) is imprecise: many forms of assessment can be used for both purposes. The table below describes some key characteristics of each assessment type and lists which levels of learning (based on Bloom’s taxonomy) can be assessed using this method.

Assessment type


Levels of learning
(Bloom’s taxonomy)

Remember,

Understand

Apply

Analyze, Evaluate, Create

Close-ended questions

+

+-

-

Open-ended questions

+

+

+

Oral exams

+-

+

+

Oral presentations

+

+

+

Written assignments

+-

+

+

Creative projects

+-

+

+

Portfolio 

+-

+-

+

 Closed-ended questions

Closed ended-questions are very useful when assessing the lower-order cognitive levels of learning, but cannot be used to assess the higher levels.

Some advantages are the efficiency and the fact that the reliability of the grading process is high: because there is only one correct answer, grading is objective - there is no room for the subjectivity of the grader. For larger groups, you could administer your MC exam in Nestor or use paper-based MC exams.

Some disadvantages are the inability to assess higher levels of learning (such as applying or creating), as well as the inability to test students authentically (in a way that mirrors how they might use their knowledge and skills in future settings).

Closed-ended questions are heavily associated with assessment of learning, most often in the form of multiple choice-exams. However, they can also be utilized very effectively for formative purposes, for example by presenting students with weekly quizzes aimed at identifying gaps in their knowledge.

 Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions can be employed very flexibly: they can be used to assess both the lower and higher order cognitive levels of learning, depending on the length and complexity of the required answer. 

An advantage is that open-ended questions are among the most efficient ways to assess the higher levels of learning. At the same time, they are not as efficient as closed-ended questions when it comes to assessing the lower levels – they thus may not be ideal for large scale courses in which those cognitive levels are targeted.

Like closed ended-questions, open-ended questions are primarily associated with assessment of learning. However, they too can be used as assessment for learning. They can help students identify gaps in their knowledge or learning process (e.g. by asking them questions that make them reflect). 

 Oral exams

Oral exams can be used to assess all levels of learning. For example, students can be asked to answer basic knowledge questions (although it is not the most efficient way to do so), but also to share their analysis of evaluation of a complex problem or case study. 

They provide a great opportunity for authentic assessment, allowing for situations that frequently occur in the professional field (e.g. meetings during which professionals discuss a specific case) to be simulated. Their main downside is that they are highly time-intensive and thus only suitable in relatively small-scale settings. Moreover, the risk of subjectivity creeping in during grading is relatively high. A second assessor is therefore preferable when using oral exams. 

Oral exams can also be used for both assessment of and for learning. For example, students can be asked questions that demonstrate their current mastery of a topic and receive instant feedback on this.

 Oral presentations

Presentations can also be used to assess all levels of learning. For instance, students can demonstrate their knowledge by giving a presentation about a theory they have been studying, but also by presenting a project proposal that they have designed.

An advantage of oral presentations is that they can also be used for authentic testing: for example, a student can be asked to pitch a proposal as though they were doing so in front of a prospective client, or a Law student may be asked to present a case as if they were in court.

Presentations can also be a very useful assessment for learning method. For example, students can demonstrate the progress they have made in developing knowledge about a topic, but also the progress they have made in developing their presentation skills in and of themselves.

 Written assignments

Written assignments can be used to assess all levels of learning and range from basic to complex, but are particularly useful to assess the latter. Assignments can be written individually, but also in a group. 

One main advantage of written assignments is that they offer an excellent opportunity for authentic testing. For example, students can be asked to write a research report or a policy document in a manner mirroring that of professionals in the field. A downside is that grading these assignments can be very time-intensive.

Written assignments are frequently used for both summative and formative purposes. Often, a single assignment has both a formative and summative function: For example, students may receive (peer) feedback on an early draft of their assignment, and then receive a grade on the final version of their report.

 Creative projects

Written assignments and presentations are most commonly used to assess the higher order levels of learning of students, but other types of creative projects can be used for this purpose as well. For example, students can be asked to develop a video, podcast episode, or poster presentation about a topic.

This can be a very valuable way to assess the creativity of students in a novel way, and in many instances also be a useful form of authentic testing. A downside is that grading these projects can be time-intensive and complex: developing clear grading criteria without constraining the students’ creativity too much can be a challenge.

Projects of this kind can be the final project that is graded, but also something students develop along the way, to provide insight into their learning process.

 Portfolio

In a portfolio, a student’s work and assignments reflecting relevant competencies, achievements and development progress are collected. 

An advantage of using a portfolio is that it gives the teacher a clear and comprehensive overview of the student’s work and the progress that has been made. For the student, the process of creating a portfolio in and of itself can also enhance their ability to self-reflect.

The final version of portfolio can be used for summative purposes, whereas early drafts of the individual parts (on which you can provide feedback) can serve a formative purpose.


Low-threshold assessment for learning examples

Assessment for learning is heavily associated with assignments on which feedback is provided, such as written reports or in-class presentations. While these are valuable and frequently used strategies, there are also many other strategies that can be used to monitor the student’s learning process. Many of these have the advantage of being very simple and straightforward, and can thus easily be implemented. This way, you can very easily gain insight into the students’ learning process and make adjustments where necessary (for example, when you notice they have not yet mastered a particular topic), resulting in better learning outcomes for your students. Below, we present a few examples of such strategies.

 Think-pair-share

This strategy involves three steps: First, you ask your students a question to which they write down an answer. They are then paired with another student and discuss their answers, while you can move around to listen to their discussions. You can then turn this into a whole-class discussion.

 Peer feedback

You can ask your students to provide feedback on each other’s work. To do this effectively, it is important that you set expectations and provide them with clear guidelines in order to help give constructive feedback. Receiving and giving feedback can help students develop a more comprehensive understanding of the topic and their own performance.

Click here for more information on peer feedback.

 Strategic questions

To get a clear sense of your students’ level of understanding, you can ask them questions. Particularly effective are ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, which force them to think deeply about the material. Giving them some time to think about and answer these questions can increase their engagement.

 3-way summaries

When discussing a topic or posing a question, you can ask your students to write three short summaries in response: for example, one that is 10 to 15 words long, one that is 30 to 50 words long, and one that is 75 to a 100 words long. This method forces them to think in both abstract and more detailed ways, and can help them decipher the key principles of the topic.

 Polls

Polls allow you to very gauge whether students have understood a topic. Many tools, such as PollEverywhere, allow students to answer these questions quickly and anonymously on their computer or mobile phone. This can also stimulate interaction and engagement during your lecture. Polls are very suitable for courses with a large number of students. 

 Exit/Admit tickets

Exit tickets can be used at the end of a lecture. You can assess whether students have understood key concepts by asking them to write something on a card. For example, you can ask them to summarize the main points of the lecture, or any questions they may still have. Voting tools like PollEverywhere also allow you to integrate this approach with the aforementioned polling strategy. For example, you can ask students to first enter any questions they may have, and then have them vote on the questions the group has generated - the questions with the most votes then appear at the top. This way, you can easily gain insight into which questions your students primarily still struggle with. 

Admit tickets are similar in principle, but are used at the start of the lecture. For example, you can ask students whether they have any remaining questions about the previous lecture, or homework assignments.

 3-2-1 countdown

This strategy allows you to gain insight into the learning activities students have found particularly meaningful. At the end of a lecture or session, ask your students to list 3 things they learned that they did not know before, 2 things that surprised them about the topic, and 1 thing they would like to start doing with what they have learned. Not only does this provide you with valuable insight, it can also stimulate students to actually utilize what they have learned outside of the classroom.

 Annotation tools

Before lectures, you can add interactivity to the study material and add simple questions to for example reading material or videos. Students will answer these questions before you interact with them, which allows you to check if they have understood the material that they needed to prepare. 


Whom to contact?

Contact EDU Support or your faculty's Embedded Expert from ESI for tailored didactic advice in using these suggestions in your teaching. For technical assistance please contact Nestorsupport.


Last modified: 13 December 03:41 PM
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