Online Assessments

Assessing students who are taking an online course can be very different from assessing students in a traditional classroom. Below I will discuss my thoughts of assessments for online courses.

1. Is assessment different in an online learning environment?
I believe that assessment IS different in an online learning environment because the factors are very different for the student being assessed.
– The student is able to take the assessment in the comfort of their own home or any other environment where they feel comfortable, rather than in a classroom. On the flipside, the student might be taking the assessment in the middle of a crowded, loud coffee shop where there are many distractions but this is the only place and time they have for the assessment.
– The student cannot easily ask for clarification on a question or assignment WHILE being assessed, rather they would need to contact the course instructor or their colleagues for clarification which may take time for a response. This delay in response may cause a disruption in the student’s train of thought.
– The student may be able to receive a large number of support and aid from different areas while being assess for an online course. A student in a traditional classroom on the other hand, will not have as much support readily available during the assessment if it is done in class.

2. How can an online environment support assessment for, as, and of learning?
Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning is a formative assessment, used to gauge a student’s learning during a unit. In an online environment, periodic assessments after each major module can be performed in order to assess this type of learning. Example: Small multiple choice and short answers quizzes after each module to ensure that it is safe for the instructor AND student to move on to the next module, since feedback is provided to the student.

Assessment as Learning
Assessment as learning is for the students to self-assessment their learning progress during a specific activity or unit. This allows the student to have a period of reflection on their learning in order to identify their areas of strengths and weaknesses. This is a time where students can set goals for themselves. Example: Have students look at the learning outcomes of the unit and reflect on how well they can identify their knowledge corresponding to each outcome. The students can reflect using a blog or audio/video recording on how they think they are doing in reference to each learning outcome listed for the unit.

Assessment of Learning
Assessment for learning is used to measure and report a student’s learning based on the objectives outlined at the beginning of the unit. Assessments of learning are usually sas summative assessment. Example: The student would need to build/create a final unit to teach others based on the unit they have just learned. This would include theory, pedagogical instructions, lesson plans/outlines, assessments and rubrics. The best way to learn/assess learning is to teach others.



One thought on “Online Assessments

  1. Thanks, Melissa, for this thorough look at assessment in online environments.

    In your “assessment for learning”, would you provide a mark to the students?

    We have evidence that once a mark is provided, learning could potentially grind to a halt. Is the quiz for your use as a diagnostic?
    I like that you are thinking about several different ways for students to provide evidence of learning.

    How might the design of the final task be a way to ensure multiple entry points for students, and choices around how learning is demonstrated? Is this different in online environments?


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