Before designing e-assessments: Reflections on webinar “Re-examining Teaching and Learning in Challenging Times: What are our assessment options?”

By Mihi Park, Centre of Language Studies

The webinar, Re-examining Teaching and Learning in Challenging Times was organised by the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL) and the Global Relations Office at the National University of Singapore, on 11, June, 2020.

From the webinar, I learnt and was reminded of few important matters in designing e-assessments.

1) Do not underestimate the non-education related matters while designing e-assessments.

There could be students who may encounter financial burden to afford a decent laptop, internet maintenance at home environment. In other words, a personal computer and the suitable home environment for the e-assessments (esp. synchronous test) may not be guaranteed all the time.

2) Reliability and validity of the test tool and the instructors’ fluency of the test tools are factors that we should re-think about.

We are used to use the test formats such as an MCQ, and an essay without worrying about the reliability and validity of them if those are conducted pen & paper-based. Likewise, while running those pen & paper based tests, the fluency of instructors in using such tools is not the considering matter. Now, however, in virtual environment, we need to consider those factors in the selection of the test tool, particularly to ensure reliability and validity. In line with the consideration, you may want to consider alternative assessment tools, such as collaborative assessment, portfolio-based assessment, and project-based assessment. These alternative assessments allow us to evaluate the students’ learning progress as well as the outcome. For those who hope to find out more, please look out for the workshops by the CDTL.

3) ‘How to’ information should be provided as well as ‘What to do’ to prepare students and academic staffs for e-assessments.

For students, we need to provide good practices of how to study in online environment, e.g. how to be successful in online class, how to manage own learning more independently, and how to prepare for online lessons. This should include ‘how to use the e-assessment tools’. I would conduct a dry-run if I run a synchronous e-assessment. It equally applies to academic staffs to teach ourselves ‘how to’, such as how to conduct online lessons effectively, how to conduct non-face-to-face e-assessments, and where to get resources.

4) In the design of e-assessments, we could be flexible and create opportunities for community conversations, meaning we may want to hear form the students, as active evaluators of their own progress.

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