There are as many methods of assessment as you have the imagination to implement and as long as they are scrutinised and approved through the University’s quality assurance processes there is no reason for you not use them.
Which assessment method is right for your course?
Choosing the right assessment method for your course can be a complex decision. You need to consider the context of the course within the programme and of the programme itself, as well as any external influences or demands placed upon your course or programme design. The assessments you choose should also align with the intended learning outcomes of your course and should also support learning. We recommend that you use a mixture of assessment methods in order to support your students to develop a variety of skills and attributes.
Overview of methods
In this section we will cover some of the more common methods of assessing student work. You can use all of these methods both formatively and summatively.
Blogs are websites where people publish their thoughts, observations, reflections, photographs, videos and more. In assessment they are often used formatively to support learning and encourage the development of skills such as web publishing and digital literacy. Students are usually required to make regular posts and the teaching team the provide feedback to the student on their blog and how to develop. Blogs can also be used in peer assessment tasks in which students may be asked to comment on each other’s blog posts, and again this can be formative or summative in nature.
Case studies provide your students with the opportunity to demonstrate not just what they know, but how they might apply that knowledge to a real-life situation. Most often used in teaching the professional subjects, case studies can nonetheless be used across the subjects in differing and meaningful ways. As a general overview, the case is set out and then students are asked questions related to the case such as, how they would move forward from the position given, what they would do next and why, what they would expect to see and how they would hope the case would be resolved.
Used most often in blended and in online learning, and used synchronously or asynchronously, discussion boards (sometimes known as forums) allow you and your students to discuss topics of your choice using an online platform. You and your students can ask questions and post responses, comments, thoughts, links or even files or images. In assessment terms, discussion boards are most often used formatively, but contribution to the discussion often also has a summative incentive, such as a small percentage of grade. Sometimes, taking part in the discussion forums is used to demonstrate attendance.
E-Portfolios give students the possibility to store, in one virtual place, all their work for one course, or for a number of courses. This may allow for students to submit a portfolio of work for assessment containing a body of work, or it may support them to collect, and keep, in one place, all the feedback they receive enabling them to consider their development. In the second of these scenarios, we would hope that the feedback is ipsative, in that we would hope it would allow students to compare their progress over time.
Mahara is the online tool that is provided and supported by the University of Glasgow for students to collect together bodies of work in an e-Portfolio. For more information about Mahara, please see here.
Group work is essential for our students to gain experience of working with others. Concerns around reliability of assessment in group work can be ameliorated with transparency about what is expected of students and of the criteria against which they will be assessed. Validity of group work can be ensured through the quality assurance process. Self- and peer-assessment are both useful tools to enable students to reflect on their role in group work, and on their learning more generally.
Assessing students’ learning in-class is a great way to check that they understand and are engaging with the material you are presenting. There are a number of ways in which to do this and the University of Glasgow has its own classroom resonse system, YACRS to enable you to do this. YACRS leverages on the fact that many students have an internet-enabled device in their bag or pocket (mobile phones, tablet or laptops are commonly owned by our students) that they can use on Eduroam (avoiding the need for them to use their own data plans). You can use YACRS to ask questions and to start discussion or debate. YACRS can be used both formatively and summatively.
Multiple choice questions (MCQs) can be a simple way for you to check your students understanding and for them to see how much they know and what gaps they have in their learning. MCQs can test simple recall or much more complex application of concepts and reasoning dependent upon how they are written. Situational judgement tests, multiple response questions and assertion-reason questions are types of MCQs that test more than simple recall. Quizzes using an MCQ format can be set up on Moodle (see here) and can be sued formatively or summatively. PeerWise can also be used to support students to write their own MCQs and comment and answer those written by their peers.
- For more information, see here.
Enabling our students to reflect on their own, and others work, and therefore on how to improve their own learning can be supported through peer assessment. This can be achieved in many ways by asking students to look at, comment on, and even grade, each other’s work. Two free, online, technologies that can support peer assessment are Peerwise and Aropä. There is information about using both of these technologies, here.
A wiki is a collection of collaboratively authored web pages, the most well-known of which is Wikipedia. Each member of the class can create one page, or the class can create pages together to produce a resource that describes and discusses any topic you choose. Students learn not only how to write about a subject, but also improve their digital literacy and create a resource they can use for future learning. They also are likely to be involved in peer-assessment, formally or informally, by commenting on each other’s content. Moodle provides an option for you to create wikis with your classes. See here for more information.