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Assessment is core to all study – all students expect to be assessed on the work that they do. While we aim not to “teach to the test” – teaching to ensure students can succeed is critical.

We’ll be looking today at both formative assessment or, as it’s also called, “assessment for learning”, and summative assessment.

A silhouette of a head - facing a questionmark, with cog wheels in the brain area.

Links to the Exemplary Module Framework

Section 5 – Assessment:  The module orientation/module engagement plan should clearly outline how students will be assessed including submission and feedback information as required and should align with the module descriptor 
There are clear links between this and section 6 – Learning Materials and Resources

Links to Blend Your Module

In Blend Your Module, we looked at the whole process of blending a module. Assessment and Feedback are critical throughout the process – and indeed, there are a lot of overlaps, particularly with Learning Materials (which we will look at in the next post). In this post we’ll particularly think about

Summative Assessment

When asked about Assessment, most staff and students focus on exams / coursework / research projects etc. – those elements that you have linked to the final overall module grade. These will have already been through a series of reviews, so at the point of designing a module,  you should already know what they’re going to be.

In the module template, you have an assessment folder, placeholders for the overall assessment schedule, space to add in assessment briefs and submission points. It’s also a good idea to include guidance to any tools you’ll be using for assessment, whether that’s Turnitin for similarity checking, or a different external tool such as Mobiius

If you’ve read “The Bigger Picture” in Blend your Module, you will already be familiar with ideas of alignment; do the activities in your course make it possible for the learners to succeed in the assessment.

Formative assessment

While you may not have the ability to change the summative assessments for this academic year, you can look at the formative assessments. For many of these, they’re often assessment for learning

In many cases, what’s of real value to students is the feedback, not the grade (though students may think otherwise…)

There are many things that can help with informal assessment – talking to colleagues around the university here are just some of them.

In the class

  • Using Mentimeter to get quick feedback on content
  • Blackboard mobile quizzes
    • We even have staff in the Medical school who create a quiz that students do twice – firstly individually, and then in a group -to discuss the questions. They’re doing it as part of their team based learning
    • Remember, to really make multiple choice quizzes useful for students, don’t just tell them if they’re right or wrong, rather remind them of why the answer was correct (in case it was a lucky guess) and give them hints to point them to the right answer if not.
  • Peer feedback. In DJCAD, students frequently give each other feedback as part of their crits; but it’s also possible to use Turnitin to allow students to give each other feedback on drafts of work. Students often learn as much from others’ work as they do from comments on theirs.
  • Could you get students to create questions, based on this week’s work to be used with the rest of the class? Perhaps you could use Padlet to enable this?
  • How about getting students to co-create part of the assessment criteria?

In their own time

We’ve mentioned quizzes above, and often quizzes are done independently. Other ideas that can be useful for independent activities may include

  • Reflective journals – should you be marking these, or should you encourage students to use them to help draw together aspects of the course; perhaps as a useful talking point in meetings with advisors of study?
  • Using the narration tools in Windows/Office/Mac – can be very powerful to do proof reading for students. It’s often easy when reading your own work to read what you thought you wrote. Hearing it read out loud, even by an automated voice, can show quirks
  • One of Turnitin’s strengths is to allow students to see their similarity report – often students can see where they’re made errors, though they’ll probably need support initially to understand how to rectify the issue.
  • If you use the Padlet LTI tool, to integrate into My Dundee, you can set it to give each student their own (private) padlet – though it might be too soon to add that in as a summative assessment, it could be another way to support student reflection.


Accessibility and Legal considerations

How can you ensure parity in assessment? Will giving students the choice between media to submit content in (e.g. the choice between a podcast, or a reflective essay) ensure that students can focus just on the reflection, rather than the production of it?


Relevant 101 sessions

Other LearningX series

External Resources

Mary Washington Refocus – Assessment

Interesting ways to support online learning(Library login required), This book by Rhona Sharpe has long been a staple of an online tutor. There are many suggestions in here – which you may find useful for formative assessment. 

Edinburgh Reflection Toolkit. If you are asking your students to reflect, you may find some of the ideas in this tool kit invaluable.

Crowd sourcing Technology Enhanced Assessment – this was a session at the ALT summer conference – it’s a video of about 22 minutes.


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