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Designing effective online assessment

A staff guide to planning online assessments as an alternative to face-to-face invigilated exams in the 2020-21 academic year.

Following the successful response, at speed and scale, to moving assessment online in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are now turning our attention to assessment planning for 2020-21. You may now find yourself asking:

  • I changed my assessments to respond to the immediate demands, but they were specific to the crisis so can I now return to normal?
  • I was able to try out new forms of assessment, how can I continue to make improvements and try out other ideas?

It is highly unlikely that, in the 2020-21 academic year, we will be able to offer face-to-face invigilated exams (central or locally organised). To plan for this, assessments should (a) become asynchronous to avoid disadvantaging students who may have to access exams in different time zones and places, and (b) offer alternative types of assessment.

Guidance for planning your online assessments

The Assessment Planning Group has developed a practical guide to help staff to rethink assessments and to signpost to further support with the task ahead. You can download the full guide as a Word document or dip in and out of sections on this page, below. 

We appreciate this may seem daunting at first; replacing face-to-face, unseen, invigilated exams with more appropriate online forms that will work in a variety of on- and off-campus situations is a complex task.  The 'Effective online assessment guide' will provide information about when specific assessments might be used, their pros and cons, and considerations for going digital.  Where available, we will also point to case studies of each approach in use. 

You will be required to confirm any changes you wish to make to assessment modes by 24 July so the Module Catalogue can be refreshed before students register for their modules. This ensures UCL can comply with consumer legislation. However, you are not required to have designed the assessment by this deadline.

Engaging students in assessment design

Many of the approaches available to staff provide opportunities for students to contribute to the assessment design, development and quality assurance processes.  For example, students can:

  • help to design guidance that is clear, meaningful and meaningful and effective;
  • advise you about particular difficulties that their peers might have in complying with requirements that might not be obvious to the assessment designers;
  • provide feedback on formats and approaches that require technologies and applications that students may not have at home (good broadband, exclusive use of laptops, the correct software, quiet places to work etc,;
  • advise on appropriate modes and timings for feedback.

    UCL has been home to Disruptive thinking since 1826 - 2020/21 is a time to innovate your assessment and feedback practice. Change inevitably will entail effort and risk - whatever approaches you decide to implement, remember to act with compassion to students, as well as being patient and understanding to ourselves and our colleagues.


    Guide to effective online assessment

    Exam-based alternatives

    Take-home papers and open-book exams

    Keywords:

    Timed exam; closed book exam; take home exam; open book exam; multiple choice exam; remote exam; offline exam.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used as formative assessment but often used to prepare for summative  assessment.

    When to use

    These are accessed online, completed, and then submitted by a specific deadline.

    They require appropriately designed questions that do not over-rely on memory and recall, but instead on interpretation and analysis. Students are required to complete questions during a set period e.g. 24 hours, 1 week etc.

    Take-home papers typically have a window of time from release until the submission deadline, often 24-48 hours or more, so that students can choose when to complete the paper and submit their work. Open-book exams, (when originally designed as such) usually have a more defined period. The key point is that students can access materials during the exam, so they require appropriate question-setting and student preparation.

    Advantages

    • Without reliance on memorising, the focus moves from recollection to usage of information, so the formats are potentially more authentic;
    • can be implemented relatively easily in different environments and contexts;
    • can allow students to make successively better drafts;
    • can require fewer ‘reasonable adjustments’ for students who need these in traditional invigilated exams;
    • are more accessible for those who may typically struggle with the practical aspects associated with time-constrained paper-based written exams;
    • can test a range of skills including analysis of a range of data types and sources;
    • students with poor memories are not disadvantaged;
    • can remove stress for students who do not thrive in the ‘sudden death’ environment of the traditional exam hall;
    • can help reframe learning for students who adopt surface approaches to learning in order to ‘cram’ purely for unseen exam questions, rather than assimilate knowledge for longer term application;
    • useful assimilation and organisation skills for future work and employment opportunities.

    Disadvantages

    • Some students will write at excessive length, packing all they can find into their answers without recognising that different approaches are needed for this kind of paper. This makes marking unmanageable;
    • students are generally unfamiliar with this method of assessment and will need guidance for preparation. students should be discouraged from thinking it is an easy exam so do not need to revise, plan or prepare in advance;
    • can disadvantage students with hectic home lives, with poor internet access or limited it kit (some just work on phones);
    • the tight time-limit compared to a standard assignment can be hugely stressful for some students;
    • raises concerns about whose work is actually being submitted.

    What it can assess

    Open book / take home assessments are best used where there is a large range of complex information and data that needs to be mastered in order to demonstrate an understanding of an area of study. Students still need to have a thorough knowledge of the information, how to use it and where to find it.

    This method can develop skills in organising large quantities or information, synthesis, and the ability to identify key data and information quickly and accurately.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    Designing good questions is a skill which teachers need to practise to develop effectively.

    It is important to guide students about how long is reasonable to spend on the task (some will think that they have to work flat out for the allocated 24 hours), and to provide a word limit.

    Students are likely to need guidance on what referencing standards you require: as used in a traditional exam (i.e. barely) or full references as required in a standard assignment.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules.

    Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    See the existing guidance for preparing UCL students for open book exams.

    Some thought is required to build in mechanisms for verifying it’s the students’ own work. The use of Turnitin may be an important consideration.  There is provision in the regulations for an investigatory viva where contract cheating is suspected: Where there is suspicion of Contract Cheating, the Chair of the Departmental Panel may, with the approval of the Faculty Tutor, initiate an investigatory viva to establish authorship.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    In-Tray/Box exercises

    Keywords

    In tray; box exercise.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Can be used for both.

    When to use

    Students are presented with a hard copy or virtual dossier of documents and other resources to review well before the exam with no idea of the questions being asked.

    They are given ample time to review and annotate these resources in preparation.

    When the question is presented, they respond to the situation, drawing on the resources in the dossier to support their choices of actions/ recommendations in a time constrained context.

    For example, in a Nursing exam, students could be provided with a typical ward managers in-box for the day and be asked to draw up staff rotas, drug rounds etc. for the day. To make the exam as authentic as possible part way through the exam they could be asked to respond in real time to changing context e.g. a road traffic accident and say how their work plans/ priorities would change and why.

    Another variation to the in-tray exam could be to ask students to work on preleased material, such as a case study, which students are then asked to critique under exam conditions.

    Alternatively, they could be asked to design a resource or a strategic plan in advance, and in the exam they are then asked to adjust it to accommodate a ‘curveball’ to the original scenario, such as needing to respond to a pandemic, or new policy guidelines, as a test of their ability to think critically, and think on their feet.

    Advantages

    • This kind of assessment is strong on authenticity, as it measures the skills the candidates will need in their future careers;
    • students can demonstrate their fitness-to-practice by justifying how they would decide to do what they chose to do;
    • if the reading/preparatory opportunity is offered in advance and tasks/new incidents are represented in real time this approach mitigates against plagiarism and tends to be regarded as a fair judgment of students’ abilities to think on the spot;
    • pre-release also allows more time for reading, for those who require it (traditional in-tray exams expect students to read the dossier in the first part of a timed exam period).

    Disadvantages

    • There tends to be a great deal of preparation in putting together the documents and materials required (although the resources can be used in a modified form in future years if the questions and incidents are different);
    • if real-time incidents are offered mid-exam to test students’ flexibility, these are reliant on students’ ready access to secure and stable internet links.

    What it can assess

    Skills; quick thinking; decision making.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    Relatively high workload in preparing documents and materials. 

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules.

    Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    In-tray exercises in paper form have been used for many years in many contents including accountancy and medicine.

    The drawback of hard copy unseen versions tended to be the complexity of providing paper documents for each candidate within the exam setting: this is no longer a problem if virtual assessments are undertaken.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    UCL Careers Assessment Centres guide [PDF]

     

    Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) using Moodle Quiz and Stack

    MCQs typically require students to choose correct answers from, for example, five presented, although a variety of other computer-supported formats include ‘best match’, ‘drag and drop’, labelling diagrams, marking crucial points on graphs, answering questions on case study scenarios, completing text by filling in gaps in cloze question formats, and many others.

    MCQ can be paper-based or online.

    Basic use tests knowledge recall but more complex variations can test higher-level thinking, especially where answers are similar but only one is correct.

    Keywords:

    MCQ; MCA; drag and drop; best match; cloze.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Either or both – if summative, recommend formative for practice. Can be used in synchronous or asynchronous environments to provide opportunities to steer/tailor subsequent taught session or as time on task following a taught session.

    Ease of setting up

    Moodle quizzes are easy to set up. They can be used for module assessment or self-assessment. Multiple kinds of questions are possible including multiple-choice questions and multiple-choice answers.

    Time will be required to build the questions depending on the complexity of the questions, and the experience of the tutor.

    When to use

    It has been successfully used for training of students in a given topic along with formative assessment, summative assessment of CWs and also exams. (see list of examples and tips from users below)

    Advantages

    • Efficient for rapid testing of factual material;
    • well suited to large cohort;
    • instant feedback to students;
    • marking is automated, straightforward, and fast (moderation is recommended for consistency);
    • can connects with Moodle gradebook;
    • good track record of their summative usage in disciplines including Medicine and Engineering;
    • content coverage rather than question-spotting is good - can cover a full range of module or programme;
    • over time a question bank can be developed, which eases some of the following disadvantages (time sink);
    • tests can be randomised so no two students get the same questions in the same order;
    • students can access or re-take during revision period;
    • enables randomization of questions;
    • can be time-restricted within a time window;
    • scope for varying complexity;
    • reusable from year to year (if using large question bank);
    • convenient for students via Moodle through single sign-on;
    •  easy to handle reasonable adjustments (SoRAs) through group overrides etc.

    Disadvantages

    • Time needed to build the question bank - questions must also be piloted to determine facility values and discrimination indices to select which questions are suitable to include in summative tests;
    • expertise needed in question design, subject content;
    • poorly designed questions make passing by guesswork easy;
    • students may not engage in a serious way – “just an online quiz”;
    • students may not check correct answers or put in work to understand why they were wrong.

    What it can assess

    It is a reliable way to check student knowledge.

    MCQs require quick thinking, decision making, and sometimes strategies to gauge the best answer if unsure or purposefully phrased.

    The design of questions and overall assessment determines what kinds of skill can be assessed to address the needs of different disciplines (particularly those with external accreditation).

    These include:

    • recall (especially of core knowledge)
    • application/analysis skills
    • interpretation

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • While marking is automated (some time required for moderation/consistency), the workload is front-loaded in the design, preparation and testing of questions;
    • Good practice suggests using questions which are multipart, the first seeking the correct or best answer, the second part seeking the rationale for the choice, potentially a third requiring students to say how certain they are that the answer is correct. incorporating penalties for incorrect answers can discourage guessing answers;
    • technical support for staff to set up moodle quizzes;
    • technical support for events during assessment (support can be provided retrospectively) – internet issues; 
    • moodle permissions etc., to decide on mitigation considerations.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Weight of the assignment and time commitment expected from the students is highly customizable.

    This type of assignment can be used at any point within the course, and it provides immediate feedback to the students. Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • Bandwidth/moodle capacity during assessment window may be a constraint especially if larger modules are more likely to do this kind of assessment;
    • different browsers may display equations, etc, differently;
    • resilience of question banks from year to year, when moodle snapshot occurs;
    • end user internet speed/reliability – if this is picked up in moodle logs, this is easy to handle though extenuating circumstances;
    • if students complete the tests online simultaneously in different time-zones, some may be assessed at unsocial hours;
    • providing a longer time window for completion may allow students to share questions and answers.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Virtual OSCE (VOSCE)

    The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a type of examination often, but not only, used in health sciences. It is designed to test clinical skill performance and competence in a range of skills. It is a practical, real-world approach to learning and assessment.

    Keywords

    OSCE; medical professional; digital skills.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both forms of assessment.

    When to use

    An OSCE is a well-established format of assessment that tests a series of integrated tasks. It is common in medical and allied medical professionals’ assessment but has also been used in aerospace industry, business, law and engineering amongst others.

    A vOSCE is testing the same tasks but in a virtual environment. It involves a series of timed task/stations involving a mixture of role players, video clips, practical skills, and written tasks e.g. prescribing.

    Advantages

    It allows candidates to be thoroughly tested in a timely manner whilst preserving patient (and candidate) safety.

    Disadvantages

    Initial set up is complicated and time consuming. Stations/tasks need to be selected carefully and modified for a virtual environment. Students, role players, examiners and administrative staff all need considerable training. A run through with admin, examiners and role players prior to the assessment is required. It is also difficult (but not impossible) to run a circuit with large numbers of candidates.

    What it can assess

    In medicine, we test communication skills, clinical and practical skills, interpretation of data (clinical signs, results, images), team working, prescribing, note keeping, ethics and law, professionalism.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Requires a significant lead in period to ensure that candidates are taught appropriate skills e.g. performing a remote consultation;
    • Requires admin staff that are familiar with the remote platform which is being used in the assessment;
    • Actual circuit takes longer and requires more staff than traditional OSCE.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • Do you have the IT expertise to make video clips?
    • Do you have enough admin staff to be able to ‘host’ the stations?
    • Have you taught your students the appropriate skills?

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Coursework-based alternatives 

    Note: Multiple choice questions (MCQs) could be used for both purposes. 

    Coursework

    This is an umbrella term that includes many different types of assessment that are not formal, time-constrained written examinations.

    Coursework may comprise of many of the assessments listed in this guidance such as essays, multiple choice/answer (MCQs), online tests, oral presentations, book reviews, group projects, reports, multimedia artefacts, etc.

    Keywords

    Coursework; authentic; skills; work-based; groupwork; teamwork; collaborative.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Both. Summative coursework is compulsory and results in grades; formative coursework offers students opportunities for receiving feedback on their progress and to prepare for their summative (coursework or exam) assessment.

    Ease of setting up

    Varied.  The workload may be high if you are creating marking criteria and rubrics from scratch.

    You will also need to provide feedback on work in a timely way that feeds into subsequent assessments, and/or set up reliable peer-assessment. See guidance on specific assessments below.

    When to use

    Coursework should be constructively aligned to the module or programme learning outcomes. Each coursework component should therefore relate strongly to one or more of these.

    Ideally, all summative coursework should be informed by a prior formative assessment, with standards clearly communicated through the use of clear briefs which provide details of expectations, deadlines, marking criteria, rubrics, work count (or equivalence) and examples of guided marking.

    A  common complaint of students is the clarity of expectations and standards.

    Advantages

    Coursework allows students to demonstrate and receive actionable feedback, on a variety of knowledge and skills that do not rely on a high degree of memorisation.

    There are many diverse possibilities and formats which can align closely to the learning outcomes, especially if these test the development of application of knowledge in an authentic setting or develop employability focused skills.

    Coursework can develop students’ ability to  work independently in making their own judgements and provide opportunities for team- and groupwork. It enables continuous assessment of progress and maintains students’ motivation. It is ideal for developing student self- regulation.

    Using more than one assessment format can improve the quality of the information used to calculate course grades.

    Disadvantages

    It can be time-consuming to set up and design the brief (see ‘when to use above’).

    Striking a good  balance of student workload where they work to a high level and meet standards but don’t overwork can be challenging.

    It is also important to be realistic about the volume of assessment and avoid an over heavy marking workload where timely feedback to students may be compromised.

    What it can assess

    It is particularly good for assessing individual and groupwork, and making assessment authentic.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    It can be time-consuming to set up and design the brief.

    Design (weighting, type, balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    Coursework promotes formative assessment, however UCL does not permit marks for participation in online forums.

    There are many other ways to encourage students to participate and take responsibility by evidencing their input and contribution to the module/programme:

    • at the start of the module set clear expectations – e.g. everyone should contribute at least one post per week (responsibility is on them);
    • ensure you step in regularly and comment on posts; stating specific times in the week when you will respond on the forums, and communicating how you will respond, will allow you to respond judiciously  and reduces students’ anxiety that you haven’t see their responses, as well as reducing traffic to your staff email;
    • set tasks that have to be completed each week and which link students in pairs or groups, so they are responsible to someone else in their group;
    • create tasks that are linked over several weeks and culminate in a larger input (either individual or group) so they have to maintain participation in order to complete them;
    • it is valid to ask students to all submit evidence of their postings at points in the course – they can each select the two they think are ‘strong’ examples of responses to a task or a discussion activity with others;
    • you can make minor amendments to the validation documents for your modules to add in some/all of these kinds of requirements but note that they are not graded content as the use of marks for ‘showing up’ is not something we want to encourage;
    •  ask for a reflection on their learning through their forum activity as part of their summative coursework assessment.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    • Kreiter CD, Gordon JA, Elliott S, Callaway M. Recommendations for assigning weights to component tests to derive an overall grade. Teach Learn Med. 2004;16(2):133-138. doi:10.1207/s15328015tlm1602_3
    • Assessment mapping template
    Portfolios

    Keywords

    Portfolio; employability; creative; media; collection.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Summative

    When to use

    Students submit collections of work in hard copy format or, more usually nowadays, electronic format demonstrating the achievement of the course learning outcomes through systematically structured evidence.

    Portfolios are particularly useful in practical / applied disciplines where evidence can be provided in very diverse forms including text, image, video, audio, practice notebooks etc.

    Students can also use a portfolio as a modern CV. By building a library of their achievements over the course of their degree they can subsequently showcase example of their skills to prospective employers.

    Advantages

    • They allow learners to present wide-ranging evidence of achievement, and to show originality and creativity alongside mastery of subject knowledge;
    • portfolios can be maintained over a considerable time scale. They show development and can be useful evidence of achievement to show to prospective employers, so authenticity can be high;
    • digital formats especially amenable to designing-in and tracking dialogic feedback processes, including uptake/subsequent action over time;
    • the personalised nature of the portfolio can also help to ‘design out’ plagiarism by promoting a sense of student voice/ownership and, hence, promote academic integrity.

    Disadvantages

    • Hard copy portfolios tend to be bulky to submit, handle and store; online portfolios may be difficult to upload to some repositories where file size is restricted;
    • portfolios take time to mark, especially if volume/length constraints are not provided;
    • assessment reliability can be quite low as different assessors tend to look for different things when assessing wide-ranging evidence of achievement.

    What it can assess

    Digital and academic skills; knowledge; personal growth; development of ideas.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Provide clear guidance on maximum timings for video/audio material included, otherwise assessors can spend many hours scrolling through material;
    • be aware that portfolios often include components that may increase assessment volume, especially if this mode of assessment applies to several modules the student is taking at the same time;
    • it is helpful to provide a matrix demonstrating how evidence aligns with learning outcomes alongside a guide to the evidence provided in the portfolio, advising students that assessors will rely strongly on these to help them select which evidence to sample (i.e. they don’t promise to read/ view every word of the whole portfolio). You might, additionally, ask learners to submit an executive summary, self-evaluation or similar, in which you require them to reflect on where, and how, their portfolio components demonstrate they meet the learning outcomes/criteria or critically review what has been learned;
    • you may need to support students to appreciate what critical reflection or critical thinking looks like.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    The components in a portfolio can be hidden if it is expressed as a single summative assessment. Assessment volume might be very high, especially if portfolio is used in coexisting modules. Ensure that your assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • A variety of sophisticated and simple software tools e.g. Mahara, MS Office productivity tools or a blogging tool, such as UCL Reflect can be used to make it easier for students to collect and structure portfolio elements;
    • as with many innovative formats, assignment checklists can help guide student effort appropriately and aid the marking process, too;
    • it is useful to consider issues of curation, feedback processes and whole-of-programme focus to maximise ongoing developmental learning opportunities, as opposed to having an exclusive focus on recording achievement.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Patchwork assessment

    A patchwork consists of a variety of small completed sections that although planned in advance, is finalised retrospectively, when the ‘patches’ are ‘stitched together’. It is similar but different to portfolio assessment.

    Keywords

    patchwork; components.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both forms of assessment.

    When to use

    Each ‘patch’ is carefully designed, as part of a larger pattern, to act as a pivotal learning moment (so patchwork assessment is not synonymous with portfolio assessment).

    Patchwork processes involve students in the ongoing and cumulative formative production of their materials, whereby meanings are linked and built by the student over time. Patches are ultimately stitched together to produce a fully justified summative account, which is submitted for marking.

    Advantages

    Universal design principles readily apply:-

    • takes account of the different ways that students learn and are able to express their learning in various ways;
    • fosters continuous development and application over time;
    • allows for diversity - enables students to meet relevant learning outcomes in a format of their own choosing, according to their own perceived areas of strength;
    • always owned by the student, who selects, critiques and justifies the work, making it an authentic and (inclusive) approach to assessment;
    • allows for creativity and gradual development - final ‘stitching’ patch encourages students to integrate their understanding of the whole module or integrated across programme of study;
    • highly amenable to digital production, which enables sharing, discussion, peer review and developmental feedback processes to be threaded throughout;
    • flexible and evolving process which is responsive to change;
    • provides vehicle in which to extend personal, professional and theoretical boundaries – process can valuably be used to disturb assumptions about knowledge and how it can be applied to a real-life context/issue;
    • draws on personal knowledge, therefore harder to farm out to essay mills;
    • feedback, reflection and development of evaluative judgment/metacognition are integral to the design.

    Disadvantages

    • Cannot simply be ‘dropped in’ as a replacement assignment as it needs to be fully integrated with pedagogical approaches;
    • students may need significant briefing and guidance on how to achieve what may be to them an unfamiliar task;
    • students may resist the process, as it is unfamiliar and less teacher-directed and led than other more familiar formats they are used to;
    • takes substantial and careful preparation in advance on your part to ensure that students form a sense of the pattern, pace and scale which underpins the whole process.

    What it can assess

    Reflection; development of evaluative judgment; metacognition; creative thinking, criticality.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc.)

    • Initial briefing, student preparation and preparatory workshops on reflective writing, peer review processes, feedback literacy and appropriate skills development are essential – to build student confidence and appreciation of the process;
    • carefully design the patches to link to the intended learning outcomes and articulate the skills you anticipate students will develop (e.g. synthesis, creative thinking, criticality). brief students clearly about this;
    • think carefully about the timing of the patches and think through the relevant logistics - e.g. is there an overarching theme to the ‘stitching’? do you anticipate students having free choice in all or just some selection of patches and content? it can be a good idea to decide core and optional elements in advance and to make these clear to students;
    • start small if you are unfamiliar with the approach;
    • check out whether suitable technological infrastructures and systems are in place and troubleshoot them with regard to your designs;
    • establish clear processes for sharing and reviewing each patch so feedback feeds forward to the next patch. Tailor patch themes to authentic contexts e.g. consider professional practice from client’s viewpoint, create an information leaflet, critique an article from a professional journal, review current news items, analyse data;
    • indicate some sample genres so students get the idea e.g. series of Q and A, a letter of application, a press release;
    • discuss exemplars and run FAQs;
    • guide the overall synthesis clearly and engage students meaningfully with assessment criteria and standards.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    A variety of digital formats could be used such as:

    • UCL blogging service ( easy to use and set up)
    • Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium
    • Penzu has a range of e-journals if you prefer that over a diary style notebook
    • MS Office Sway allows curation of media, reports, newsletters, web pages, and presentations in an interactive, web-based canvas. All staff and students have free access to this.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Reflective journals

    Keywords

    Reflection; critical analysis; inclusive; subjective.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Both formative and summative.

    When to use

    Students are required to write critically about what they have learned, drawing upon their experiences and/or practice, and relating it to their reading.

    Reflective writing involves producing an analytical piece of work in which the candidate describes an event or idea, reflects deeply using a range of differing perspectives, and attempts to analyse this. It often incorporates references to previous models or theories on the subject.

    Advantages

    • Reflective writing can be a powerful means of enabling students to demonstrate complex learning outcomes including critical thinking;
    • regular journaling can help students develop good working habits and routines;
    • students can deepen their learning by reflection, and can demonstrate analysis, creativity and originality;
    • when reflective journaling works well, students continually develop their learning through reflection;
    • students can be encouraged to incorporate reflection on any formative feedback;
    • as this is highly personal, students are unable to use essay-writing services and plagiarism is reduced;
    • regular engagement from staff allows them to gain a good idea of the student’s progress and where additional support is required;
    • encourages autonomous learning and increased learner autonomy.

    Such analytic abilities can enhance employability and develop evaluative judgement. It might also be used to support employment applications and references.

    Disadvantages

    • Students may not fully understand what is required of them in reflective writing. The tutor may need to test assumptions and spend considerable time setting expectations;
    • students may be put off by the idea of keeping a “diary” for assessment;
    • many students, at the start at least, write descriptively, extensively and uncritically, and may need extensive guidance on how to write more systematically;
    • unless constraints are provided, the length of their writing may make marking unmanageable;
    • digital media can replace the handwritten form although some students may prefer handwriting to think, and then rewrite into an electronic form extending the time needed for the assessment;  
    • some students may feel they need to write what they think you want to read;
    • potential difficulties in verifying content and timing of when reflective notes were actually written (all in one go or throughout the expected time span);
    • objective marking is difficult due to the personal, narrative tool. Specific criteria needs to be established and communicated to all.

    What it can assess

    • Development of reflective, and critical thinking, and to document the student’s learning journey through a topic, module or programme. It can also assess a different writing ability and serve as evidence for other assessed work (e.g. artefacts, presentations);
    • can be used in any learning setting – no definitive design.
    • can work across longer or shorter time spans. The key is to get the student to think about what they have learned from the experience they are describing;
    • links should be made to problem-solving and practical exercises.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    Time spent in exploring what critical analysis and reflection mean in academia is well spent. Carefully guided discussion of illustrative exemplars are useful. It can be really helpful to suggest tight indicative word limits on several sections to produce a critical incident account as a starting point to reflective writing e.g.:

    • choose and outline an incident that you have experienced in your last placement (200 words)
    • describe the context in which you were working (200 words)
    • what action did you take? (200 words)
    • why did you choose that particular course of action? (200 words)
    • how did your choice of actions relate to your university classes and reading in the area? (200 words including at least 3 references)
    • how would you do things differently next time? (200 words)
    • what did you learn from this experience? (200 words)
    • how were you changed (if at all) in your orientation and approach by this, or were your previous convictions borne out? (200 words).
    • is this a standalone assessment or being used in conjunction with another assessment type?
    • are you setting a prescribed format or leaving it freeform for the student to personalise?
    • how often will you check the students are completing this through the timespan?

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • There is a UCL blogging service that is easy to use and set up.
    • MS Office Sway allows curation of media, reports, newsletters, web pages, and presentations in an interactive, web-based canvas. All staff and students have free access to this.
    • Penzu has a range of e-journals if you prefer that over a diary style notebook.
    • Blogger, Tumblr, and Medium could be used.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Group / Collaborative assignments

    Keywords

    Collaboration; reflection; groupwork; teamwork.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both forms of assessment. It is particularly useful for students to reflect on roles and performance within a team environment.

    When to use

    Students are put into groups and each group is allocated a case study or topic on a weekly basis. Groups work to consider any data, plan their goals and consider recommendations. Learning is scaffolded by mini lectures/exemplars. Students can present a product for formative feedback towards the end of the course/time plan.

    The summative assignment might take the form of a practical element or task. The students learn about the cases/topics together through own and guided research. Encourage students to engage in deep critical thinking of the case or topic over consecutive weeks. It works well for authentic case or topic linked to the students’ circumstances/programme.

    Advantages

    • Students are used to this form of assessment in traditional classroom teaching but can be equally used well in an online setting using bespoke tools;
    • encourages students to actively engage in their learning and form a learning community;
    • develops soft skills or communication and teamwork, with added digital skills for collaboration;
    • structure provided allows students to focus on “doing” rather than navigating a more vague task;
    • exposes students to peer feedback, formative staff feedback and reflection;
    • peer group work aids motivation to engage online;
    • engage students in critical thinking with exemplars.

    Disadvantages

    • Needs student buy-in and motivation to engage with task and peers;
    • time consuming for tutor set up;
    • some students have difficulty in assimilating multiple feedback with different or opposing viewpoints;
    • many students prefer a single correct “perfect” answer/example;
    • can be difficult to determine individual contribution.

    What it can assess

    Critical thinking and integration across modules or programme, and soft skills.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Is the assignment well planned?
    • Are the internded learning outcome clear?
    • Are there external factors which could influence success? (e.g. Connectivity, time zone, familiarity with software)?

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • Collaborative assignments require online platform (BB Collaborate/MS teams/zoom). Think about access and bandwidth issues (inc. international students);

    • provide or encourage student groups to define code of conduct or time plan for their group interactions around time zone and other individual constraints;

    • in face-to-face settings, the final product might be a live presentation. in remote sessions this might be redesigned so that students prepare a pre-recorded presentation for review and feedback from peers and staff. The tutor should provide one or two exemplar presentations – demonstrating typical errors and invite students to grade/comment on the exemplars. The tutor can provide a recorded rating/comment on the exemplars;

    • final product/presentations are uploaded to a secure folder (Moodle/Onedrive). During the scheduled presentation time students are expected to view and provide feedback on peer presentations using a Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES) form based on marking rubric (e.g. University of Sydney Teaching Tips: Provide easy, efficient, personalised feedback to your students). Staff/tutors also complete same form with formative feedback. SRES should be simple and accessible;

    • students review and reflect on their feedback during formal lecture time, mediated online. students can then modify presentations ahead of final presentation (we suggest including an additional slide on their own reflections from the learning process).

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Collaborative assignments via Zoom: it was a new experience but a good one [University of Sydney case study]

    Digital art project makes most of free web technology [UCL case study]

    Padlet for assessment toolkit [Imperial]

    Supporting online lab-based group work with OneNote [Imperial]

    Wiki

    Keywords

    wiki; collaboration; digital

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Can be used for both.

    When to use

    A wiki is a website developed collaboratively by a community of users (students) – allowing any user to add or edit content.

    A wiki can be used where a topic benefits from the experience of many different students or where students are likely to need to revisit the topic in the future (e.g. ongoing assessment/feedback as understanding changes or develops).

    Advantages

    • Students can bounce ideas off each other, using a collaborative approach to increase the understanding and insight of all;
    • students develop teamwork skills and knowledge of software that they can refer to in subsequent job interviews;
    • the form reflects the way many industries now share information;
    • a digital footprint is kept that can help staff evaluate how and when students are accessing information;
    • students are unable to use the essay-writing services to do this type of work for them, and thus it is harder to plagiarize;
    • a history of individual’s contributions is captured by the system.

    Disadvantages

    • Students engage with wikis differently, some posting frequently and others posting little at all, making it difficult to mark consistently;
    • time must be taken for both the tutor and the students to familiarize themselves with the platform on which the wiki is hosted
    • students might be unfamiliar with this form of assessment and so more time will be needed to set out the expectations.

    What can it assess?

    Wikis lead to improved technical competence and allow students to demonstrate where they have worked collaboratively to further a goal.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • What is the purpose of the wiki?
    • Will the blog be public or viewable only by students/assessors?
    • How long will the student be expected to use the wiki?
    • How often will the students be expected to update the wiki?
    • How will you ensure each wiki has academic validity?
    • What platform will you host the wiki on?
    • Is specialist training needed for you, students and assessors?

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • UCL has a range of wikis providing useful information on subjects, teaching and learning. These can be flagged as exemplars.
    • Digital education can provide support.
    • PB works
    • Wiki.js

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Individual peer assessment of contribution to group work (IPAC)

    Keywords

    Peer assessment; IPAC.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It works with both, and in fact it is beneficial if it is used as combination of the two. At the end of a project, the IPAC can be used to give formative feedback to the students as well as summative marks. In long projects, one can also use it as formative first, in the middle of the project, giving a chance to staff to know how the groups are doing, and also helping with the group dynamics moving forward in the project.

    When to use

    The IPAC methodology should be used when students are completing a group work, particularly in cases where the weight of that activity counts significantly towards students’ grades.

    It gives tutors the chance to assess the level of contribution of each student to the group work, assessed by their peers. This presents multiple advantages and possible uses as listed in the advantages section.

    Advantages

    • Can improve student group dynamics;
    • discourages passengers/free riders in the team, encourages students to participate in the group work;
    • addresses staff and students’ concerns regarding the fairness of individual marks;
    • addresses the accrediting bodies' concerns regarding the fairness of individual marks;
    • provides opportunities for students to practice (learn/become trained) on how to provide constructive and professional feedback to their peers – this is a type of external facing assessment;
    • shows students how their contributions have been perceived by their peers – a very important element in improving teamwork;
    • provides insightful information to staff on how the groups are working and allows the possibility to address any issues early on;
    • it compensates /substitutes/complements other more time-consuming methods of observation of individual contribution to group work, e.g. tutor observations in class. Therefore, the IPAC becomes key during group work activities run online;
    • it reduces the number of overall complains from students regarding group dynamics, while providing a formal mechanism to give students feedback;
    • can be used to track individual student development;
    • it is fast to implement using the IPAC LTI and software, available at UCL;
    • customizable by staff.

    Disadvantages

    • The IPAC assessment methodology should be explained to students at the start of the group work activity (including the aim and benefits), particularly if the students have not used it previously;
    • students do not need long to complete peer feedback (5-30 minutes) but it can be perceived as an additional deadline unless made optional (not recommended).

    What it can assess

    The IPAC methodology can assess a variety of things. It is completely customizable by the staff. Some types of questions and example attributes are:

    • general engagement with the project, e.g. overall contribution to the project, effort, quality of the work, etc.;
    • professional skills, e.g. ability to work in teams, leadership, communication, etc.;
    • contribution to a particular part of the project, e.g. contribution to ideas, contribution to the writing of final report;
    • compliance with team contract defined by members of the group at the start of the project.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    Students only need 5-30 minutes to complete, depending on how extensive the comments that they write to their peers are.

    the IPAC methodology used software that is very fast to set-up and implement even in very large classes; it is available at UCL and tutors can set it up in 5-60 minutes depending on how much one wants to customize. It processes all the data in five minutes and provides feedback and marks to students in five minutes.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    If you want to use this methodology, you need to inform students at the start of the group project. That is not just common good practice, it also plays an important part of getting the most benefits out of the assessment methodology, particularly in terms of students’ engagement.

    The methodology allows staff to customise parts. A guide on this is available below.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    • IPAC project wiki
    • Introduction to the methodology and guidelines on how to use it: Garcia-Souto MdP et al (2019). Individual peer assessment of contribution to group work (IPAC): Key points and recommendations. Full text: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092391/
    • Garcia-Souto, MdP (2019). Is it safe to use peer assessment of individual contribution level when assessing group work?
    • IPAC software and LTI – Contact Dr Pilar Garcia Souto to get a copy and also to get trained:  p.garciasouto@ucl.ac.uk
    Viva Voce individual oral tests or interviews

    Keywords

    Viva; viva voce; interviews; presentations.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both forms of assessment.

    When to use

    Orally, students individually, or in groups, are required in real time to answer questions from one or more examiner on prepared topics. Sometimes questions are preceded by a short presentation from the examinee.

    When on-site vivas are not possible, virtual formats can be used, as has been the case for international PhD examinations for some years.

    Advantages

    • Allows probing questions to check for understanding;
    • encourages the students to prepare thoroughly on the topic or area of study;
    • allows assessment of higher-level thinking without the barrier of written communication;
    • can encourage and develop confidence in oral skills if used formatively and consistently;
    • widely used for high-stakes assessment, such as at doctoral and master’s students and readily usable virtually by other levels;
    • regarded as authentic, as many careers and professions may depend on face-to-face skills at answering questions and giving persuasive explanations;
    • the face-to-face/ live virtual dimension allows assessors to gauge students’ speed and confidence at answering questions in ‘real time’, even virtually, in contrast to most other assessment methods;
    • probing questions can be used, e.g. ‘how else…?’, ‘why else’ and so on, to explore students’ depth of knowledge (cognitive challenge);
    • reduces plagiarism concerns;
    • Virtual vivas can enable recordings to be made which are useful not only for quality assurance purposes but also, with permission, as resources for future students.

    Disadvantages

    • With large cohorts, managing virtual vivas can be time consuming;
    • some candidates can be adversely affected by nerves;
    • students may be unfamiliar with the assessment method and so may need additional guidance and support, with opportunities to practice;
    • technical difficulties with broadband connections, different time zones and live links are unpredictable and can be hugely disruptive;
    • students with greater social capital and advantage are likely to do better than other students;
    • students with voice impairments may not do themselves justice, and hesitation (e.g. from stammering) may be misinterpreted as lack of knowledge;
    • difficult to guarantee fairness between candidates, especially when variations in levels of probing occur;
    • where students are viva-ed in groups, there may be issues around apportioning the contributions fairly;
    • assessment may be affected by a range of factors (e.g. unconscious bias, uncongenial environment…).

    What it can assess

    Oral examinations can be used to assess student’s(s’) engagement with a topic, to explore their thinking and assist the development of new ideas or avenues of research. The student(s) might propose an argument or be given a specific topic/area, while the examiner(s) can discuss, debate or ask further questions.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • There is a strong case for the increased use of oral assessment as part of a balanced range of assessment methods in present-day contexts but this has to balanced with the time needed to set up and conduct;
    • as with all forms of novel assessment on any programme, students will need guidance on how best to undertake a viva as well as practice opportunities with feedback (maybe including peer feedback) to ensure confidence;
    • when, where and how will the examination be conducted?
    • how will you measure quality of response, and maintain consistency across students and examiners?
    • how will any recording be used and kept securely?
    • how many examiners will be used for each student, and have you addressed any EDI concerns in the examiner/student ratios?
    • Suggest the use of open questions and positive body language (Incl. eye contact and active listening).

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • Platforms might include MS Teams or BB Collaborate;
    • think about how you can enhance your positive body language and rapport with the student via online medium?
    • as with any other form of live assessment, recordings or other forms of documentation of the events will be needed for quality assurance/external examining purposes;
    • consider scaffolding student learning via, say, a series of authentic assessment tasks which culminate in interactive oral assessments;

    NB. There is provision in the regulations for an investigatory viva where contract cheating is suspected: Where there is suspicion of Contract Cheating, the Chair of the Departmental Panel may, with the approval of the Faculty Tutor, initiate an investigatory viva to establish authorship. Undertaking random vivas is not permitted.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Presentations / Performances

    Keywords

    Presentation; performance.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    May be used effectively for both.

    When to use

    These may be individual or group presentations/performances, usually to a live audience (other students, the public) and not just the assessor. Assessment criteria should be known in advance, and may include the ability to articulate clearly, coherently and competently the answers to reasonable questions arising from the presentation/performance.

    Advantages

    • Allows candidates to demonstrate communication skills (e.g. oral, visual, physical) alongside subject mastery;
    • authentic: presentational (oral, visual, physical) skills are important in future employment;
    • peer-assessment can make presentations/performances a better learning experience for all;
    • can include ability to respond to spontaneous questions from the assessor and/or the audience.

    Disadvantages

    • Assessing presentations can be hugely time-consuming;
    • may be hard to strike a balance between mastery of content, and skills of presentation;
    • ‘raising the bar’: expected standards can become higher over a series of presentations/performances as assessors expect more and more;
    • in presentations, ‘impression’ marks can be associated with the quality of presentation slides or resource materials used in the presentations;
    • where multiple assessors are involved, inter-assessor reliability can be problematic.

    What it can assess

    • Knowledge
    • communication skills for a variety of audiences
    • ability to respond to questions.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • It is important to set and stick to time limits;
    • clarity on assessment criteria is imperative so students recognise weightings of diverse assessed elements (e.g. information content, presentation techniques, ability to answer questions etc.);
    • as above, briefing/training and rehearsal are important to give each student a fair chance to succeed since some will have done these before and others won’t.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience: https://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/26730 and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • It may be more sensible to rely on recorded and submitted rather than live presentations to allow for technical issues;
    • recorded presentations can create large file sizes which are difficult to manage;
    • recordings and other records will need to be made and kept for QA/ external examiners for any live presentations;
    • it may be challenging to replicate the ‘live audience’ virtually if a synchronous approach is desired.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Video / Audio recordings, podcasts

    Keywords

    Video; audio; digital skills; podcast.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Can be used effectively for both.

    When to use

    The production of video or audio content provides an alternative to the written form and can promote a more inclusive approach to assessment. Students are required to submit data files containing their video/ audio recordings, and podcasts to provide evidence of achievement of specific learning outcomes. They gather information on a subject and present it in audio or visual form within a specific time duration. The report needs a structured narrative, similar to an essay, but with evidence, analysis and conclusion taking place in an audio/video format.

    Advantages

    • Students can see the value of producing outputs in what they are likely to use as a very 21st Century medium. May link to employment opportunities and skills set;
    • these forms are likely to be relatively difficult to plagiarise or farm out to essay mills;
    • allows more flexibility and choice than traditional pen-and-paper approaches (inclusivity);
    • allows demonstration of creative approaches to exploring ideas/problem;
    • scripting and voicing requires both writing and speaking skills – reading a script out loud can help develop more fluent writing styles;
    • encourages students to focus their argument and avoid waffling within a time constraint;
    • suitable as either a group or individual assignment.

    Disadvantages

    • Students may not at first realise how much work is needed to prepare for, plan and deliver a seemingly informal output like a broadcast and may consequently leave it up to the last minute;
    • students and staff, may need training to use appropriate software;
    • conversely, they may concentrate so much on the medium that they neglect the message;
    • there can be technical issues about recording and data files might be very large to submit electronically;
    • external review may comment on this assessment lacking academic rigour;
    • shy/introverted students may find this assessment method particularly challenging;
    • students may focus more on production techniques than on the content;
    • risk of unconscious bias in assessment if the student has poor speaking skills or speaking impairments;
    • extra care is needed to ensure this assessment is academically rigorous and that sources are properly cited;
    • There can be substantial problems concerning ‘digital equity’ in that some students will have significantly better access to good quality kit than others.

    What it can assess

    How cogently a student can synthesise and communicate complex ideas relating to a specific topic.

    Critical thought needs to be demonstrated beyond standard written format.

    Particularly useful for assessing how students can portray complex ideas in an accessible way.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Is it clear what is being assessed (content rather than production techniques)?
    • Will students have technical support in compiling the video/audio?
    • How long will the student(s) have to prepare, and what is their expected recording duration?
    • Who will assess? Just academic staff or a combination with external/peer assessment and feedback.
    • How will marking be maintained and consistent across different examiners and markers?
    • How will you address any EDI concerns?
    • We suggest providing exemplars.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • As with other innovative assessment media, good briefing, training, discussion and rehearsal are imperative;
    • It is important that assessment criteria are based on students’ capability, expertise and knowledge rather than technical specifications when they are working from home without access to loan equipment;
    • Be careful to issue indicative expectations of workload and remember to include time for learning how to use tools, for example video or audio editing software. A lack of equipment might prevent some students from participating fully;
    • Students may use a wide variety of sophisticated software or use more simple recording options in PowerPoint or Webcast. YouTube might be appropriate if issues of open content, IP and data security are taken into ccount. LinkedIn learning can help students with technical issues;
    • Creative Commons – catalogue of licence-free music and audio that can be used in presentations. Facility to download audio files from the internet;
    • OpenShot– free video editing software, compatible with Mac, Linux and Windows;
    • Windows (Movie Maker) or Mac (iMovie) – free inbuilt software for Windows / Mac devices, basic and easy-to-use video editors;
    • For podcast Audacity is a free open-source recording software, compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows. User friendly, with facilities to export and compress files easily;
    • You might also consider giving audio or video record feedback to your students, rather than written accounts. Student react to the different format and engage in different ways – often at higher levels.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Video documentary assignment

    The video documentary assignment is a communication task where groups of two or three students investigate a topic of their choosing. It provides an alternative to written communication assignments which predominate in science courses.

    The production of a documentary film can encourage teamwork, develop new skills, reinforce concepts, and generate new knowledge.

    The resources can be used by future students.

    Keywords

    Vlog; steaming; broadcast; film; documentary.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Mostly summative but could be used for formative.

    Ease of setting up

    Relatively easy. Establishing and assessing an authentic task using a video requires little or no revision of your existing module.

    You will need to provide detailed guidance on the terms of engagement, timing and sequence of scaffolding activities, marking criteria, rubrics, and provide examples.

    The bulk of the instructional activities occur in the first week. 

    A variety of assessed and non- assessed components may be used, for example, non-assessed but mandatory components might include group meeting minutes and a draft storyboard or script.

    The primary aim of these elements is to assist students in time management and planning for making their documentary.

    Assessed components include:

    • an annotated bibliography as background research and justification for selection of sources of evidence – students conduct this as individuals and receive an individual mark;
    • a peer assessment of group member contribution to the assignment based on the criteria of participation, reliability and contribution (see ipac assessment and software guidance for managing groupwork);
    • the video product – students conduct this as a group and receive a group mark.

    When to use

    A video documentary assignment can be used when you wish to develop students communication, digital and critical analysis sills in your discipline.

    You can also use it when you want to students to create direct links with researchers within your faculty.

    Advantages

    • Video documentary assignments facilitate student learning of teamwork, information and digital literacy, structure of a logical argument, basic audience analysis, and how to engage an audience as well as oral and visual presentation skills.
    • Student engagement with the video documentary assignment is very high. Many students report that it provides an enjoyable bonding experience which helps them to find and make friends.
    • Data collected through anonymous student surveys consistently report the highlight of the video assignment as being factors that foster intrinsic motivation, including the opportunity to make friends, novel hands-on and outdoor experiences, establishing links with UCL researchers and independence in topic choice and presentation style.

    Disadvantages

    The challenge that is likely to cause hesitation about implementing a video task is how to supply, manage and support students’ use of the technology involved. An approach you may adopt is to encourage students to use whichever technology they are familiar with, but to emphasise that support may be available for particular tools. UCL students have access to LinkedIn Learning that can support skills development. If students feel uncomfortable with producing a video, give them the opportunity of producing a PowerPoint presentation.

    Marking is possibly the second challenge that comes to mind when considering the implementation of a video style assignment. Requiring students to work in groups certainly helps in keeping the marking load manageable (e.g., one assignment per four students). Marking video assignments is an acquired skill as both novice and experienced markers are easily seduced by entertaining stories, ‘wow’ footage and background music. Explicit and specific marking criteria and inclusion of a moderation activity at the start, and part way through the marking process will help to establish and maintain consistency of judgement between markers. 15 min per assignment for marking to allow the video to be viewed in front of the whole class, a Q&A session and for marks to be entered and feedback written is a reasonable amount to time.

    What it can assess

    • Student learning about teamwork;
    • information and digital literacy;
    • structure of a logical argument;
    • basic audience analysis;
    • how to engage an audience;
    • oral and visual presentation skills

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Students are expected to explain the concepts that underpin an issue of their choosing and communicate its relevance to an audience in a five to seven-minute film that will be created over a 10-week period.
    • Students must be given guidance about the balance of tone that addresses the audience and the depth of disciplinary knowledge required.
    • Involve students with the assessment criteria (e.g. via co-production exercises or in guided discussion) so they are clear about the standards, meanings and relevant weightings of criteria and can use them to evaluate their own work in progress.
    • The assessment design must be aligned with the learning goals so that the purpose of the documentary as a whole is clear to students. Without this, students may lose sight of the end goal. Students are less likely to put effort into the formative assessment if they cannot see how this will help them with the summative.
    • Make sure to assign students to teams so they complement each other’s’ technical, presentation and academic skills. Students should be encouraged to share their final video with friends and family - they have reported very positive outcomes.
    • To provide incentives for students interested in filmmaking and/or communication, the top 5 videos can be uploaded to the UCL Media server or YouTube channel, where this exists.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • Ensure your students understand that documentaries are assessed using standard marking criteria and video quality and technical skills are not part of the assessment. Provide students information about copyright issues, for example organise an information session with the UCL Copyright officer.
    • Spend one or two sessions providing students with basic technical skills including video editing, knowledge about various video editing software and an ability to create a plan of action for making the video. You may ask students to take online courses for video filming, production, animation and script writing for informational videos using Linkedin Learning.
    • If your students include interviews with researchers or others, ensure you obtain written consent from both the student and the researcher/external before you make the video publicly available. Students should send the researcher/external they interviewed a link with the final version of the video and check if the researchers/external are happy with content accuracy.
    • You might also consider giving audio or video record feedback to your students, rather than written accounts. Student react to the different format and engage in different ways – often at higher levels.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Creative artefact

    Keywords

    Artefacts; creative; creative industry; portfolio; digital portfolio.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Both summative and formative assessment.

    Ease of setting up

    It depends on the complexity of the portfolio and the platform you may choose to support it. It requires considerable preparation and may impact on other assessments within a single module or with others where assessment volume may be increased. If introducing for the first time, portfolios require thought and guidance.

    When to use

    Traditional written exams are rarely used in many subjects aligned to the creative industries. The reduction of lack of face to face raises challenges for on-site assessments, for example in subjects requiring sculptures, paintings, architectural designs and engineering models. In addition to assessing artefacts, the process by which they have been achieved, and work in progress, is central to both summative and formative assessment.

    A portfolio of artefacts may be taken into the digital environment photographs, video, audio descriptions or other digital media. A digital portfolio allows demonstration of how the student generated or connected the items they compiled on a given subject. Portfolios can include written reflective texts.

    In normal times, assessment in situ would be the norm, but currently many are using photographic or video evidence of output, so these are likely to need a reflective commentary as well as other forms of documentation of progress to provide rigor and enhance assessor’s confidence.

    Advantages

    • Students can complete their work in stages and build up work slowly. This practice will help students to develop the skills needed for longer pieces of work, like a dissertation or large project. Tutors can observe how students’ ideas have developed over time, potentially reducing opportunities for academic misconduct;

    • it encourages students to tackle the module/programme and the issues in smaller inter-related parts, allowing them time to think and reflect on their ideas;

    • assessment of artefacts such as these is high on validity and authenticity;

    • progress can be monitored through staged feedback and review or a summative portfolio;

    • diversity or a range in material can be presented and included;

    • students are encouraged to develop planning and organisation skills for both development of the artefact and supporting portfolio/reflective commentary;

    • reflective commentaries on work in progress can help demonstrate the thinking that underpins the creative production;

    • documented evidence provides indicators of the standards of evidence of achievement for future students to work towards;

    • artefacts are useful as evidence of achievement to show prospective employers;

    • students are unable to use essay-writing services, difficult to plagiarise (however there is higher potential when on a digital portfolio is presented. hence suggested incorporation of reflective commentary or journal to support authenticity).

    Disadvantages

    • It may be hard to assure inter-assessor reliability unless criteria are really effectively negotiated and shared among the assessment team;

    • Engaging students and maintaining motivation and commitment;

    • marking can be time consuming;

    • possibility of plagiarism in digital realm if only marking final product/artefact;

    • can conceal a high volume of assessment. For example, a portfolio may contain many components;

    • marking a work in progress requires a different set or number of marking criteria to marking a completed final output.

    What it can assess

    A portfolio of artefacts can be used to show the development of ideas and skills over a period of time.

    It may be used to demonstrate students’ capabilities as well as the quality of an artefact. It can be a collection of work on several topics (demonstrating integration) or a single topic.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    Discuss with colleagues what they imagine the student workload might be within each context that it is used.   A portfolio can often conceal a high volume of assessment as ‘the portfolio’ may be labelled as a single assessment but contain many components. Involve students with the assessment criteria (e.g. via co-production exercises or in guided discussion) so they are clear about the standards, meanings and relevant weightings of criteria and can use them to evaluate their own work in progress.

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules, especially where portfolio assessment is used on other modules.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    • In seeking evidence of achievement, it is quite useful to ask for notebooks and evidence of work in process when this is produced remotely to ensure that the person submitting was the person who created it. This shift from just ‘making’ to ‘making and explaining’ is also invaluable in encouraging reflective approaches to creative production and revision which can demonstrate core learning outcomes;
    • note guidance on ‘reflective journal’ and portfolio assessment;
    • explore UCL’s My Portfolio software.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Blog

    A blog (abbreviated from "web log") is a website or webpage that is updated by the student throughout a course or assessment period; it details, for example, a learning journey. It can be authored by one or more students.

    Keywords

    Blog; digital skills; multimedia; reflection.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both forms of assessment.

    Ease of setting up

    High. Establishing and assessing an authentic task using a blog may require you to significantly revise your existing module or even rebuild from scratch.

    Students will need to register for a blog. You will need write guidance on the terms of engagement – how to register, marking criteria, rubrics, word limits, how often students should comment and post, and provide examples.

    Depending on whether it is individual or group assessment, you may need to put in considerable time early on monitoring and motivating. Your students will look to you to set the pace and style of engagement

    When to use

    A blog should be used when you wish the student to develop one idea or concept over an extended period of time. It should be used to help monitor how students have engaged with the material presented and how their views changed as they were presented with new material and ideas.

    These can be used for formative or summative assessment. As part of the assignment, they might be asked to comment constructively on other student’s blogs. They can be a useful vehicle to help reflective learning.

    Advantages

    • Students can complete their blog in stages and develop it slowly. This practice will help students to develop the skills needed for longer pieces of work, like a dissertation or large project. Tutors can observe how students’ ideas have developed over time, potentially reducing opportunities for academic misconduct;
    • blogs can provide an invaluable online record of student work, offering opportunities to be reflective, improving writing and analytic skills, and enhancing student learning and promoting academic integrity;
    • blogs can have a professional focus to heighten authenticity;
    • it encourages students to work in small steps, allowing them time to think and reflect on their ideas;
    • students are unable to use the essay writing services to do this type of work for them;
    • student can embed other resources such as hyperlinks, images, videos and podcasts and encourage peer’s/readers' comments;
    • blogs can be used to demonstrate the student’s writing and digital skills in future employment application;
    • many students are already blogging and so the context is reasonably familiar for them;
    • tutors can monitor students’ progress before final submission and ensure the assignment is being completed appropriately, i.e. that it is not left to the last minute;
    • since they are relatively short in length, they are likely to be manageable to mark.

    Disadvantages

    • Students may be unfamiliar with this form of assessment and so need clear expectations establishe;
    • students may need guidance on registering, using references and setting the right tone;
    • some colleagues/quality assurers, PSRBs etc. may need convincing that blogs are serious academic tasks;

    What it can assess

    Dynamic and concise writing, application of theoretical connections with the ‘real world’,  transferable (non-academic) skills and digital skills.

    Students can engage in self and peer reflection by constructing knowledge collaboratively. Peer assessment can enhance students' discrimination skills and learning from each other.

    Many of our students will go on to use blogs and social media as part of their future work, particularly if they are going to engage in further research work. This assessment will give them a concrete example of where they have used these skills when asked about them at interview so this type of assessment will give them a concrete examples of where they have used these skills when asked about them at interview.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    The assessment design must be aligned with the learning goals so that the purpose of the blog as a whole, and of individual blog posts is clear to students. Without this, students may lose sight of the end goal of the blog and let their contributions slide. Students are less likely to put effort into formative assessment if they cannot see how this will help them with the summative. Useful questions to answer….

    • What skills are you expecting students to have or develop – what support is there for this (Linkedin Learning, writing style/tone, etc)?
    • How will students know when, what and how much to post?
    • How will you ensure the blogs have academic validity?
    • What criteria will you use?
    • How will you mark it (feedback sheets or direct annotation on the blog)? What criteria will you use?
    • Does the blog need to be locked down: are you assessing their ability to blog (ongoing) or a specific point in time, especially if it is a summative assessment?
    • Will the blog be public or viewable only by you and the student?
    • How long will students be expected to use the blog?
    • Is any specialist training needed in order for the students to be able to use the platform?

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    The UCL blogging service, Reflect, is straightforward to set up.

    Involve students with the assessment criteria (e.g. via co-production exercises or in guided discussion) so they are clear about the standards, meanings and relevant weightings of criteria and can use them to evaluate their own work in progress.

    Following set -up, you will need to respond to student queries and remind them of the rubrics, marking criteria and module learning outcomes.

    As this media form may be novel for students, you may need to offer individual advice on how to regulate writing or posts to maximise responses.

    Plan to assess early when students are posting and commenting frequently. Students who receive feedback early on will continue to post and comment throughout the module

    Other useful questions to ask are:

    •            Will the blog be public or viewable only by you and the student?

    •            How long will students be expected to use the blog- how long should blog be live after the assessment deadline?

    •            Is any specialist training or resources that students can access to develop the digital skills required?

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Publications and working papers

    Keywords

    Publication; journals; newsletter; magazine.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    It can be used for both.

    Ease of setting up

    Relatively easy. Guidance in the form of ‘Guides for Authors’ is needed to shape assessment criteria and rubrics.

    When to use

    Students are asked to write as if for a journal, newsletter or magazine submissions.

    Advantages

    • This can be a very authentic assessment method, of which students can recognise the value;
    • They can helpfully prescribe wordage, referencing, style etc.;
    • By emulating the writing of published resources, students may develop a better appreciation of how journal articles are organised and structured, which might make them more usable in their information searches.

    Disadvantages

    • Full length journal articles are lengthy to assess;
    • students may see the task as rather daunting and the requirements may be unfamiliar.

    What can it assess

    • Knowledge, critical analysis, writing and academic skills, employability/higher level study prepapartion.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc

    • Students will need careful briefing of requirements so they can fully appreciate the task;
    • A side benefit is that if they are really good, the student can consider submitting for actual publication: quite a few do, and some succeed. Some journals for undergraduate research or student engagement also provide useful opportunities;
    • Involve students with the assessment criteria (e.g. via co-production exercises or in guided discussion) so they are clear about the standards, meanings and relevant weightings of criteria and can use them to evaluate their own work in progress.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    There are online journal platforms (such as PKP) that allow for rapid setting up for online submission of articles or working papers. These may be used for outwards facing student publication or professional communication.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Rough guides, Leaflets and other public documents / outputs

    Keywords

    Guides; leaflets; documents.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Can be used for both.

    Ease of setting up

    Relatively easy. Guidance is needed to shape assessment criteria and rubrics.

    When to use

    As an alternative to producing a published paper, students can be asked to produce a guide, infographic, graphic novel, video, explainer, diagrams with exploded text, workshop guide, instruction manual or similar, which educates a specified audience about a complex topic.

    These can be undertaken individually as ‘chapters,’ which are collated into a folio/booklet to encourage collaboration.

    Advantages

    • Students can often see the point of preparing outputs which have the potential for actually being used by the target group, as opposed to jumping through assessment hoops simply to please a marker;
    • where these are applied (e.g. a guide for professionals, or members of public etc.) they can be highly motivating forms of assessment;
    • drafts and finished versions are amenable to submit for review and constructive feedback from a range of audiences, including the intended audience;
    • readily adaptable to promote and foster collaborative, asynchronous approaches to (online) working within peer groups, thus building learning resources and communities (especially important when remote working likely).

    Disadvantages

    Students can get carried away with the novelty of the format, so guidance is important.

    What can it assess

    Professional knowledge and communication.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    It might be a good idea to require students to submit assignment checklists which help guide them to consider all the key features you are looking for. If these are generated in advance by the teaching team in dialogue this will help ensure staff have shared expectations and standards.

    Involve students with the assessment criteria (e.g. via co-production exercises or in guided discussion) so they are clear about the standards, meanings and relevant weightings of criteria and can use them to evaluate their own work in progress.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    Be careful to issue indicative expectations of workload and remember to include time for learning how to use tools, for example video or audio editing software. A lack of equipment might prevent some students from participating fully.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Evaluative comparisons and judgements

    Keywords

    Evaluation; assessment for learning; sustainable assessment; peer assessment; self-regulated learning.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Both.

    Ease to set up

    Relatively easy.

    When to use

    Staff can set evaluative tasks which require students to carefully choose and evaluate, say three, websites or similar on a given topic.

    Advantages

    • Careful and challenging question-setting for tightly focused assessment tasks (see “considerations”) can focus students on achieving high-order learning outcomes while focusing on choosing personalised source materials to evaluate/review;
    • students are likely to perceive that the task requires original thought and their own voice, so boosting a sense of academic integrity and authenticity, as well as allowing you to spot similarities;
    • avoids students simply cutting and pasting from the wealth of material they can find, while allowing students the flexibility to source a variety of material (rather than rely on a few sources).

    Disadvantages

    • Students who have previously become familiar with tried and tested surface approaches to gathering academic material for their reports or essays may need support/briefing and practice in tackling the task effectively;
    • If the task involves sustained access to websites or data bases, digital equity may be an issue.

    What it can assess

    • Evaluative judgement is the capability to make decisions about the quality of work of oneself and others;
    • Evaluative judgement is the capability to make decisions about the quality of work of oneself and others
    • Evaluative judgement to help critical analysis.Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc.

    Ensure clear instructional guidance. For example: 

    • Avoid: Explain the effects of obesity on public health. Instead use: Create a set of five criteria and standards for judging the quality of websites about obesity, and apply your criteria/standards to three websites, one of which is the best and one of which is the worst (adapted from ‘Designing out plagiarism: A brief guide for busy academics’, University of Surrey).

    • Avoid: Compare and contrast economic theories X and Y.  Instead use: Locate three websites or printed texts that deal with X economic theory, then contrast the views expressed in these sources with the economic situation in country Y, and make recommendations for this country’s economic future (adapted from Carroll, J., & Appleton, J., 2001, ‘Plagiarism: A good practice guide’)”.

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    Design clear assessment task and brief. There are no particular challenges for going digital.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Tai, Joanna & Ajjawi, Rola & Boud, David & Dawson, Phillip & Panadero, Ernesto. (2018). Developing evaluative judgement: enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work. Higher Education. 6. 467-481. 10.1007/s10734-017-0220-3.

    Annotated bibliographies

    Keywords

    Annotated bibliography; formative assessment.

    Used for formative or summative assessment

    Generally used for formative assessment.

    When to use

    Students are required to list and discuss a number of references on a particular topic, explaining how they located them, why they chose these rather than other references, what they learned from them and how they can apply the learning to their particular contexts.

    They are often used early in a programme when students are learning how to manage information prior to essay writing.

    May take the form of a short summary paragraph per paper, or some form of a summary table, bullet points or audio files.

    Advantages

    • This is a useful way to engage students with the relevant literature, rather than just collecting information on it, thereby building information literacy;
    • candidates can demonstrate their depth of study of the sources and the breadth of the source material they have reviewed;
    • encourages reading full article rather than a surface scan. Can be used to engage with methodology and their impact on conclusions;
    • well established assessment method with wider range of support material online;
    • plagiarism is limited. Although students may choose the same sources, it would be easy to spot identical annotations.

    Disadvantages

    • Students do not write extended critical text, this is short prose;
    • students might be unfamiliar with this form of assessment – needs clear expectations and alignment;
    • students may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer range of resources available and may have poor information retrieval skills at the outset;
    • some students from cultures where set texts are used, or where teachers mandate the reference sources they are to use, may find the open-endedness of the task scary.

    What it can assess

    Where you want a student to explore articles or text in depth. Introduction to literature or deeper critical engagement with literature.

    Support development of critical reasoning skills, evaluative skills.

    Serves as preparation for writing longer essays and dissertations.

    Considerations (workload, timings, inclusiveness, etc)

    • Will you provide the refences or expect the students to seek their own?
    • Will you give a specific topic or a wide area of study?
    • Is the assessment standalone, or feeing into future work?
    • Specify expect number of references and/or word count (e.g. 10-20 references).

    Design (weighting, type balance, etc)

    Please ensure that your module formative and summative assessment strategy takes account of the overall assessment load for the student studying multiple modules. Weights assigned to assessment components should indicate importance and address reliability and validity implications.  View the animation to see how to balance assessments to create a holistic student experience and produce a simple visualisation of your intended design using the template.

    Considerations for going digital and challenges for staff

    If early in studies, student might need support in accessing material, including search engines and quality control of source material.

    A collection of annotated bibliographies can be turned into a resource-bank and issued to future students as a starting place for them to develop their own bibliographies.

    Links to case studies and further information and readings

    Glossary of assessment related terms

    A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | X | Y | Z

    A

    Annotated bibliography

    This is a reference list where the student has added extra information on each reference given. Usually, this extra information will summarise and critically explore the reference it concerns. Though the norm is for the extra information to take the form of a short paragraph, it may take many different forms depending on the specific requirements laid out in the assessment criteria. For example, the assessment criteria may state that the information should be presented in bullet points, as audio files, etc.  

    Assessment brief

    This should detail exactly what students are required to do and must align with the data stored in Portico and published on the Module Catalogue. Moodle should be used to amplify and support that information, perhaps to include sources of advice, etc. 

    Assessment criteria

    These are the details that explains what evidence the candidate needs to demonstrate (e.g. knowledge, or a skill, etc.) in order to attain a particular grade or level. They are detailed enough to be able to demonstrate how an assessment will be marked. If you are using rubrics or grading forms, make these available as a part of the criteria. 

    Asycnhronous / Synchronous activities

    For assessment purposes, you should focus on assessments that are asynchronous but need to be completed by a particular deadline.  Synchronous assessments are risky in that they rely on specific access and they should only be attempted with significant support/advice from the ISD. 

    Blog

    A blog is a website or webpage that is updated by the student throughout a course or assessment period; it details, for example, a learning journey. You can use these are part of an on-going assessment as a type of journal – they can be formative and summative – it depends on how you want students to use them to evidence their learning.  

    Competency-based assessment

    These are assessments which mean students will be evaluated against some specific learning, behaviour, or performance objective. This objective, and/or the level of performance that represents "competency" is clearly established in the curriculum and represents an expected level of expertise or mastery of skills or knowledge. 

    Constructive alignment

     'Constructive alignment' starts with the notion that the learner constructs his or her own learning through relevant learning activities. We therefore need to create a learning environment that supports the learning activities appropriate to achieving the desired learning outcomes of the module and programme. All components (the curriculum and its intended outcomes, the teaching methods used, the learning activities designed and the assessment tasks) - are aligned to each other. The learner finds it difficult to escape without learning appropriately.

    Course Report

    A course report is a selection of notes an academic will make during a student’s study, usually over the course of the module. Usually, this report will consider the student’s input in the lectures and/or seminars. It may take several forms, from short written notes to a tick box sheet. 

    Dissertation

    A dissertation is a large body of work which provides students the opportunity to engage in independent research study. A dissertation is not a long essay, but rather a review of different points of view about the subject. It should also include original research, which may be designed to test hypotheses and to further understanding of the topic. 

    Essay

    An essay is a written text exploring a particular subject. They are useful in online learning settings as students can upload drafts, build work using patchwork assessments and then submit a final assignment via a VLE or similar.  

    Exams

    it should be noted that managing the access to online examination settings, providing remote invigilation and ensuring that students abide by criteria for resources, e.g. open book. Are all validated and agreed. These situations need careful handling, explanation and might need additional IT security.  

    'In-tray’ exams can take the form of exams where candidates are already provided with factual detail about a scenario (for example, the staffing and facilities of a hospital ward, or a business portfolio) and are given time to familiarise themselves with the information provided. Managing the use of materials for online testing situations is complex and would need professional support. 

    Open-book exams where candidates are provided with texts or journal articles and sometimes, reference materials of their own choice, to be used in an examination setting. The advantages include reducing the emphasis on memory recall. A disadvantage can occur if different candidates have different resources to use. Managing the use of materials for online testing situations is complex and would need professional support. 

    Open-notes exams where candidates are allowed to bring in with them a limited quantity of prepared material – handwritten or word-processed – to assist them in answering the exam questions. Managing the use of materials for online testing situations is complex and would need professional support. 

    Oral exams 

    An oral examination is an assessment conducted through speech. The candidate may propose an argument and then provide evidence to prove or disprove it, while the examiner is allowed to discuss, debate and ask further questions. 

    Takeaway exams can be where candidates are given a question paper or task to take out of the exam room and asked to submit their answers at a later time in the same day (or beyond). Such exams can have the advantage of simulating real-world situations, where people are allowed to use resource materials and talk to other people when solving problems. Managing the use of materials for online testing situations is complex and would need professional support. 

    Timed online exams

    Quiz tools in Moodle can be used to schedule online, timed tests or exams. Quizzes and tests can be set up to: 

    • be taken during a specific time period (e.g. on a specific day or at any time during a specific week) 
    • have a time limit, requiring the student to complete the quiz or test within a specified timeframe (e.g. 60 minutes from the time they begin) 
    Exercise / task (structured)

    An exercise or task set by the examiner will help determine the student’s aptitude. Exercises and tasks vary from subject to subject and from examiner to examiner. For example, field work provides an opportunity for assessed on-site work on a project in a context relating to the subject. 

    Feedback

    Feedback is information given to the learner about the learner’s performance relative to learning goals or outcomes. It should aim to (and be capable of) producing improvement in students’ learning.

    Feedback redirects or refocuses either the teacher’s or the learner’s actions to achieve a goal, by aligning effort and activity with an outcome. It can be about the output of the activity, the process of the activity, the student’s management of their learning or self-regulation, or them as individuals.

    This feedback can be verbal or written, or can be given through tests or via digital technology. It can come from a teacher or someone taking a teaching role, or from peers. 

    Actionable feedback (also known as ‘feed-forward) specifically identifies what needs improvement and offers a plan of action to make the necessary improvement possible. 

    Formative assessment

    Formative assessment refers to any form of assessment, such as quizzes, tests, essays, projects, interviews, or presentations, in which the goal is to give students feedback about their work while it is in progress, to help students correct errors or missteps, or to improve the work along the way to the final product. In contrast, summative evaluation is to make a judgment about a final product or about the quality of performance at the end of an instructional unit or course. 

    G

    Group work

    Group presentation 

    A group presentation where two or more students work collaboratively to present a piece of work. It may be an oral, visual, poster or written presentation. 

    Group project report 

    A group project report is a log of the entire process of creating a group project. Usually, it is written in conjunction with a group project or presentation. 

    Peer review exercises 

    A peer review exercise is one in which students review each other’s work and have a critical dialogue concerning it. 

    Wiki 

    A wiki is a website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, in this case students, allowing any user to add and edit content. 

    Lab notebook

    A lab notebook is a primary method of research – for example, the physical paper that chemists use to write down their results in the lab. It is used by researchers as a memory aid, an organizational tool and to document their experiments, hypotheses and initial analysis. 

    Learning objective

    A learning objective is a specific statement that describes what the student is to learn, understand, or to be able to do as a result of a lesson or a series of lessons. 

    Learning outcome

    A learning outcome represents what the student actually achieved as a result of a lesson or a series of lessons. The success of lessons may be influenced by the students' prior knowledge, their effort and attention, teaching methods, resources, and time. Learning outcomes refer to the results of instruction, while learning objectives refer to the intended goals and purposes of lessons. 

    Literature review

    A literature review is a secondary source, as it does not propose any new or original experimental work. It includes findings relevant to a particular topic, as well as pre-existing theoretical and methodical ideas. 

    Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

    Multiple-choice questions are a method of assessment where a candidate is tasked with selecting the right answer (or answers) from a list of incorrect answers. It may be taken in timed conditions, as part of a formal examination, or in an informal setting; it is possible to use these effectively in online settings and they can both computer and human marked.  

    Podcasts

    A podcast is a recorded speech, similar to an essay but spoken aloud. The candidate will gather information on a subject and present it in audio form, usually within a given duration. 

    Practical examination

     A practical examination is an examination of a candidate’s practical skills. For example, a chemistry practical examination may involve a supervised experiment, where the candidate’s method and practises are assessed. 

    Reflective writing

    Reflective writing involves producing an analytical written piece in which the candidate describes an event or idea, thinking in depth and from differing perspectives, and trying to analyse the item, often referencing a previous model or theory on the subject. 

    Research plan / proposal

    A research plan is a proposed idea for a study (or gathering of research) on a particular subject. The proposal should cover what questions will be asked and how, any prior research that has taken place on the subject, how the results will be evaluated and how much time the process will take. 

    Rubric

    A rubric is a chart or plan that identifies criteria for evaluating a piece of a student's work, be it an essay test, a paper, or some other student production. The best rubrics offer the clearest details for each category of evaluation so that a student's products can be evaluated consistently.  

    Summative assessment

    The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of a module by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are often high stakes as they credit and/or professional recognition is awarded on successful completion.

    Validity

    Validity is a term that describes how well a test, or a test item, measures what it claims to measure, accurately predicts a behaviour, or accurately contributes to decision making about the presence or absence of a characteristic. It is vital that all assessments have strong validity so that they meet the required standards within the university for all phases of learning.  

    Video report

     A video report is a presentation via video (and often audio) on a particular subject. The report will take on a structured narrative similar to that of an essay, but with the evidence, analysis and conclusions all taking place in video format. 

    Download a Word version of the 'Guide to effective online assessment'

    Further support

    The UCL Arena team member assigned to your Faculty are also available to provide advice on both assessment design and marking/feedback considerations for each approach. 

    The Arena teaching fellows are assigned to faculties as follows:

    • Bartlett – Brent Carnell
    • Engineering – Nick Grindle (with Peter Fitch)
    • Maths and Physical Sciences – Peter Fitch / Vincent Tong (until end June)
    • Brain Sciences – Rebecca Lindner and Teresa McConlogue
    • Life Sciences – Jason Davies
    • Population Health Sciences – Alex Standen and  Rebecca Lindner
    • Medical Sciences – Jenny Griffiths
    • Joint Faculties – Karen Matthewman (SHS) with Jesper Hansen – (A & H)
    • Laws – Jesper Hansen
    • IoE – Silvia Colaiacomo

    UCL Changemakers in Arena provides support and guidance for staff/student partnerships, including UCL Connected Learning Internships.