Conducting Assessments Online: What Options Do You Have?

Kiruthika RAGUPATHI
Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL)

Kiru highlights options for conducting assessments online

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What are options that faculty have in designing and administering assessments online?  In this blog post, I share a few.  

Use Traditional Assignments Submitted Online

Get students to submit traditional assignments (e.g., essays, case studies, article reviews, proposals, reports) via the learning management system LumiNUS’ “Files Submission” or “Quiz” function using essay-type questions. Be transparent in your marking criteria and expectations (e.g., indicate allocated marks and word limits clearly).

Administer Online Quizzes (automated online assessment)

Develop online quizzes in LumiNUS or on the assessment platform ExamSoft. You can also embed automated quizzes within video lectures to test students’ learning.

Conduct Timed Individual Online Assessment

Design time-constrained online assessments for your mid-semester and/or final exams. To minimise cheating, consider:

  • randomisation of questions and options;
  • personalisation of questions (e.g., individualise numerical values;
    select questions from a large pool of questions that are of the same level of difficulty)
  • structuring quizzes that disallow students to return to a previous question/section;
  • asking for a short justification/rationale for each multiple-choice question (MCQ), that is,
    two-tiered MCQs.

Assess Online Interaction

Use LumiNUS Forum, blogs and wikis to facilitate asynchronous online interaction and to assess students’ contributions.

Get Students to Submit Assessment Questions Online

Get students to create and submit assessment questions online for each topic or course. An online quiz with two-part short answer/essay question format can be used to allow students to (1) create and input their assessment question, and (2) write their explanations on what is being assessed and why it is important for student learning, as well as how it is related to the learning outcome(s) of the topic or course. Alternatively, use LumiNUS Forum for submission of assessment questions and follow-up discussions on the submitted questions.

Create Online Group Assignments

Allow students to work in groups to create and upload online presentations, project artefacts for review by either you, their peers, or both.

Incorporate Online Learning Activities That Assess Critical Reflection and Metacognition

Use electronic portfolios, online journals, logs, diaries, blogs, wikis, embedded reflective activities to assess critical reflection.

Conduct Online Oral Examinations

Conduct one-on-one or small-group oral examinations via video-conferencing tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. Additionally, use role-play or debates via these platforms to assess their learning.

Assign Take-home Quizzes on Reading Assignments

Consider developing a take-home quiz for every reading assignment, with one question for approximately each page of the text. The test questions (question stem) should be “objective” in a fairly literal sense, while the answers (the options) should be quite specific. To answer a question, students should need to do little more than find the right sentence or paragraph, and read it with a certain degree of understanding (Williams, 1988).

Set Up Group Multiple-choice Tests

Allow students to consult with peers if they wish to when taking an online MCQ quiz, before making an individual submission for grading (Murray, 1990).

Incorporate Paired Testing

Design two-part quiz with a series of fifteen questions in each part. The first set is taken individually, while the second part is assigned to student pairs for discussion before each students turns in their individual answers to the quiz. (Hendrickson, Brady, & Algozzine, 1987).

I hope that colleagues will find these suggestions helpful as they develop assessment activities online. To find out more, colleagues may refer to the NUS Quick Guide to Online Teaching and the Toolkit for E-Learning for resources and guides on teaching and learning online.

 

References

Murray, J. P. (1990). Better testing for better learning. College Teaching, 38(4), 148-152. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/27558431.

Hendrickson, J. M., Brady, M. P., & Algozzine, B. (1987). Peer-mediated testing: The effects of an alternative testing procedure in higher education. Educational and Psychological Research, 7: 91-101.

Williams, F. C. (1988). Tests that also teach. American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy, 12-14.


Kiruthika RAGUPATHI is Associate Director at CDTL and co-leads professional development programmes and oversees the centralised teaching quality instruments at NUS—student feedback and peer review. Her research work focuses on assessment, student living-learning experiences, academic development, and technology-enhanced learning.

Kiruthika can be reached at kiruthika@nus.edu.sg.