Technology enhanced assessment

Good assessment practice is the same no matter what the delivery mode.

Blended learning allows us to draw on a broader range of assessment types, than traditional formats alone. Although blended learning by definition can include a range of traditional approaches, the focus of this page is on using technology in assessment.

The affordances of technology create new opportunities for assessment in blended learning environments. New technology and approaches should only be used where they will lead to equivalent or improved student experience or attainment of outcomes.

“Practitioners with a clear understanding of the principles underpinning good assessment and feedback practice are demonstrating the value of integrating a wide range of technologies into their practice, enabling learners to experience more varied and appropriate assessment and feedback strategies at all stages of their learning programmes.” (JISC, 2010, p.7).

Assessment design process

A key consideration when choosing an assessment strategy is its alignment with the learning outcomes.

It's what the students 'do' that is important to the learning experience. You need to first decide what it is you want students to do and experience, and then after that choose an appropriate technology.

Flow diagram, learning outcomes, assessment task design, technology choice

Assessment task design

Nightingale et al (1996) created a list of categories of Learning Outcomes, then suggested assessment methods were added (Morgan & Chris, 1999), and adapted (Dunn 2011) see https://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/resources/methods.html

The following list has been further adapted and enhanced from these sources.

Thinking critically and reflectively

Developing arguments, reflecting, evaluating, assessing, judging.

Link to ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA3: apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making
  • GA4: think critically and reflectively

Common forms of assessment:

  • Essay
  • Report
  • Journal
  • Present a case for an interest group
  • Write a newspaper article for a foreign newspaper
  • Comment on an article's theoretical perspective

Solving problems and making decisions

Identifying problems, posing problems, defining problems, analysing data, reviewing, designing experiments, planning, applying information.

Link to ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA3: apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making
  • GA6: solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account
  • GA8: locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

Common forms of assessment:

  • Problem scenario
  • Group Work
  • Work-based problem
  • Prepare a committee of enquiry report
  • Draft a research bid to a realistic brief
  • Analyse a case

Demonstrate knowledge or understanding

Recalling, describing, reporting, recounting, recognising, identifying, relating & interrelating.

Link to ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA5: demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
  • GA7: work both autonomously and collaboratively

Common forms of assessment:

  • Written examination
  • Essay
  • Report
  • Write an answer to a client's question
  • Short answer questions
  • Multiple Choice Questions, quiz

Creating products (new or redesigned works), performing procedures and demonstrating techniques

Imagining, visualising, designing, producing, creating, innovating, performing.

Computation, taking readings, using equipment, following laboratory procedures, following protocols, carrying out instructions

Link to ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA9: demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media

Common forms of assessment:

  • Portfolio/ePortfolio
  • Performance
  • Presentation/webconference
  • Demonstration
  • Role Play
  • Make a video, pod cast
  • Produce a poster
  • Lab report/virtual lab report
  • Observation of real or simulated professional practice

Communicate with individuals or groups

One and two-way communication; communication within a group, verbal, written and non-verbal communication. Arguing, describing, advocating, interviewing, negotiating, presenting; using specific written forms.

Link to ACU graduate attributes:

  • GA1: demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity
  • GA7: work both autonomously and collaboratively
  • GA9: demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
  • GA10: utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.

Common forms of assessment:

  • Written presentation (essay, report, reflective paper, wiki etc.)
  • Oral presentation
  • Group work, peer review
  • Discussion/debate/role play/web conference
  • Participate in a 'Court of Enquiry'
  • Presentation to camera
  • Observation of real or simulated professional practice

Technology choice

Each technology has its own affordances, some technologies will lend themselves to certain tasks better than others.

Specific technologies can be applied as vehicles for assessing many different learning outcomes. For instance, a blog could be used for tasks involving ‘remembering and understanding’ or ‘creating and evaluating’ . As with traditional approaches to assessment a "tool" can be applied to many contexts and desired outcomes.

There may be occasions when you are inspired by a technology application another colleague or institution uses. The tool they have chosen may not suit your learning outcomes. For instance, you see a great use of quizzes, and think ‘I want to use quizzes’, instead your first question should be ‘what am I trying to assess and how am I going to assess it?’. If it’s “communication and collaboration skills”, then quizzes are unlikely to be a natural fit for your task design.

The following is a list of commonly applied technologies.

Web publishing tools

Method

Supported tools

External tools Rationale Examples in practice Resources

ePortfolio

Mahara
ePortfolio
Evernote
PebblePad
GoogleSites
Weebly
Portfolios can allow a student to demonstrate development over a period of time. Support real-world tasks. Can be time-consuming to mark. Clear rubrics need to be provided.

Strengthening STEM laboratory assessment using learner portfolio and electronic assessment

Using Google Sites to build online portfolios (K-12) (COFAOnline 2016)

ACU ePortfolio site

MERLOT ePortfolio portal

The creative graduate: cultivating and assessing creativity with ePortfolios (University of NSW 2011)

An Overview of ePortfolios

Transforming students through ePortfolio assessment [webinar recording].

Blogs,
Journals
Mahara
ePortfolio


LEO forum

LEO wiki
Blogger
Wordpress
LiveJournal
Weebly
Tumblr
Can support student reflection and peer feedback. Is aided by providing clear assessing criteria, exemplar posts and how-to-write-reflectively support. Can be used both as a group or individual assessment. Avoid deadlines that are too regular (ie. weekly), instead stagger deadlines to allow students flexibility.Case study: Blogging for assessment (University of Huddersfield)

Assessing with blogs (UNSW 2016)

Setting up a simple blog in Blogger (COFAOnline 2010) [video]

See 'Assessing student blogging' on this site (EdTechTeacher).

How to use Tumblr (SwinburneOnline 2016)

WikisLEO wiki Weebly
pbworks
wikispaces
Useful for group collaboration. Can embed multimedia.

Can be a challenge to assess individual contributions.

Dr Orla Kennedy discusses using a wiki as a means of assessing students (University of Reading)

Assessing with wikis (UNSW 2014)

DiagramVisio, Word, PaintMindmap: bubble.us, popplet, mindomo, edynco

Flowchart: Lucidchart

Infographic: piktochart

General: Google draw
Diagrams can be used to capture processes, concepts or creative solutions to problems.

A sequence of images can be easier to produce than a video, and could be used for creating digital stories.
 Scoring rubric for mindmaps (McGraw Hill 2008)

Rubric for Graphic Organisers - Inspiration Diagrams/Concept Maps (University of Winsconsin 2015)

How to mindmap with bubble.us (see sub-topics on left-hand navigation of this site) (SwinburneOnline 2016)

Presentation tools

Method

Supported tools

External tools Rationale Examples in practice Resources

Video, screencasting.

Recording and hosting:
Kaltura

Recording: Smartphone, web camera, camera, present.me

Editing: iMovie, Windows Movie Maker

Hosting: Youtube, Vimeo

Video is a useful tool for assessing performance-based learning outcomes. It allows students to easily self-assess.

It is important to be clear on how it will be assessed, ideally providing students with a rubric.

Can provide a technological hurdle for students. Hard to complete as a group where students can't meet face-to-face.
Use video self-modeling software to strengthen reading and speaking fluency

Interactive stories (select 'designer's voice', and explore sub-components)
How to work with video (see sub-topics on left-hand navigation of this site)
PresentationsAdobe Connect

PowerPoint
Keynote, Prezi, Slideshare, Google Slides, HaikuDeck, JingStudent may present in a live webinar, pre-recorded video, or face-to-face. 

Synchronous (live) options can allow students to integrate interactivity with their audience.
 Create group presentations with Prezi (SwinburneOnline)
Audio recording, podcastingHosting:
Kaltura

Recording: Smartphone, computer, microphone

Editing: Audacity, Garage band

Hosting: Soundcloud

Can be used as a stand-alone creation, or integrated into other assessments like wikis, ePortfolios etc.

Using a 10 minute radio broadcast as an alternative to an essay

Student-produced podcasts as an assessment tool: An example from geomorphology

A podcast assignment for a large undergraduate ecology class.

A guide to podcasting

Teaching with technology white paper -podcasting,

How to record and share audio with SoundCloud

Group audio blog Voice Thread Summative Assessment using Voicethread ( University of the West of Scotland 2011) [video]

The integration of VoiceThread into Medical English language assessment
Using Voice Thread for digital conversations

Voice thread rubric
Animation, digital story telling,  
Explain Everything,
Video scribe,
Educreations,
GoAnimate
Encourages creativity and reflection. 

Hard to complete as a group task.
Digital story - examples Digital story telling - tips and resources

Digital story telling - a guide for faculty

Digital story telling

Quiz and data tools

Method

Supported tools

External tools Rationale Links

Quizzes

LEO Quiz tool

Qualtrix

SocrativeAutomarking ability lends itself well to large enrolments. The multiple-choice style questions are suited to assessing basic recall/knowledge. Well structured questions take time to write and quizzes take time to set up. Time is saved through automarking . They can be used to give question-specific feedback, but this is time consuming to create. To minimise potential for plagarism, strategies such as randomisation, complete-in-one-sitting, question banks and multiple test versions can be used.

Writing Multiple-Choice Questions that Demand Critical Thinking

SurveysLEO feedback
Qualtrix
Survey Monkey,
Google forms
Can be used to collect authentic data for students to analyse, or for students to create their own questions.Can be used to support self-reflection.

Reflecting on feedback - University of Westminster (JISC 2014) [video].

Discussion and collaboration tools

Method

Supported tools

External tools Rationale Links

Discussion board

LEO forum

  • Edmodo
Discussion boards can be used for learners to share opinions, reflections, debate, role-play, analyse responses, look for patterns.

It can be difficult to assess individual input.

Assessing by discussion board

Writing effective online discussion questions

Group collaboration  and group communication

LEO forum

LEO wiki

Adobe Connect

Collaboration and project management tools:

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Google docs
  • Dropbox
  • Kaizena
  • Voice Thread

Communication tools:

  • Facebook
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts
  • WhatsApp
  • GoToMeeting
  • join.me
Group work encourages collaboration, cooperation and communication. It can allow students to develop teamwork skills and critical thinking.

It can be difficult to assess individual input, task design and peer-assessment can help.

Students can find group work time consuming and frustrating.

It can be helpful to encourage students to use 'Group contracts' for group assessments. Template Contract for Online Group Work (University of Calgary 2014).

Facilitating peer and self-assessment - Loughborough University and University of Hull (JISC 2014) [VIDEO].

Role-play and simulation

LEO forum


Adobe Connect

Role play supports critical thinking and experiential learning. It can be used for problem solving, and demonstrating skills, and situated authentic contexts.

Some students can feel anxious about role playing.

EnRoLE - encouraging role based online learning environments

A Framework for Assessing Learning Outcomes in Online Business Simulations

Engage adult learners with course-long role play

Assessing with role play and simulation (UNSW, 2016).

ACU academics speak


I like investigating new technology, as teachers in the 21st century, this is a skill/disposition we all have to engage with. We are dealing with 21st century learners. We need to come to grips with that, get onboard and harness that in our own teaching and learning so we can use that to enhance what we are doing.

Professor Romina Jamieson-Proctor - State Head of Education (QLD). To watch Romina's full case study follow the link.


By far most effective way to get best practice spread around....is to have evangelists within the school...who have tried different things, have discovered the benefits first-hand and can preach that message to other colleagues. We’ve had a lot of staff within our school using the rubric and feedback mechanisms within Turnitin. [They] record voice comments, because it saves so much time, and it makes the work of marking assignments so much easier…. That information came along from whispers in the corridors and people talking over their lunch break. So I think having colleagues who have played around with different things is far more effective than...other traditional forms of workshops.

Dr Sebastian Krook - Associate Lecturer in Human Resources and Marketing. To watch Sebastian's full case study follow the link.


Administration, marking, feedback and resources

Select the area you wish to explore.

  • One assessment strategy is using online discussion boards and grading posts and responses. Students need support in knowing what is expected of them, this page provides a series of rubrics for grading online discussions Online discussion rubric.
  • It can be time-consuming to assess online discussions, one strategy is to have students collate their 'top 3 posts' into a Word document and submit these.
  • For an example of online postings being assessed, see the assessment section of the ACU blended learning case study: Professor Clare Johnson.
  • Assessing group work can be challenging, particularly if much of the group work is completed through online mediums. The following resources provided ideas in this area.

    Using technology for giving feedback can increase efficiency and enhanced depth of feedback.

    Screencasting

    Turnitin audio comments

    ACU marking and moderation case studies

    There are several policies that can guide you in developing assessments in your units.

    • This guide covers designing effective assessments, designing with technology in mind, the link between assessment and feedback, and included case students of technology-enhanced practice, Effective Assessment in a Digital Age (JISC 2010).
    • This page discusses the benefits, challenges and strategies involved in Selecting Assessment Technologies (UNSW 2016).
    • This page will assist you in considering various technologies, it makes the link between various intended learning outcomes, and useful technologies for achieving them, Selecting Technologies (UNSW 2016).
    • This three-page guide, covers benefits, considerations and ideas for using technologies in assessments, Using technologies to support assessment (Macquarie University). When you click on the link, it will download the guide.
    • This article presents the outcomes of a typological analysis of Web 2.0 learning technologies. A comprehensive review incorporating over two thousand links led to identification of 212 Web 2.0 technologies that were suitable for learning and teaching purposes. A Typology of Web 2.0 Learning Technologies (Bower 2015).
    • Blended learning encourages the use of active learning pedagogies, many of these lend themselves to creating authentic assessments. Active learning pedagogies (The University of Queensland 2016) gives a good introduction. This diagram, gives a quick explanation of the difference between projects and project-based-learning.
    • The TALOE (Time to assess learning outcomes in e-learning) page has a tool in which you tick up to three learning outcome verbs and it generates assessment suggestions.
    • Assessing student learning (EdTechTeacher).