Assessment is a very important part of teaching. It helps learners and instructors to measure how well objectives are met. When coupled with meaningful and quality feedback, assessment can be a valuable learning experience.
The goal of any educational opportunity is for the learner to acquire knowledge and skills as a direct result of the learning experience. Without assessment tools, it is impossible to determine whether learners have acquired the requisite knowledge and skills, thereby meeting the given objectives.
Classroom assessments can include a wide range of options - from recording anecdotal notes while observing a student to administering standardized tests. The options can be roughly divided into two categories - formative assessments (low-stakes, ongoing feedback) and summative assessments (examinations, final projects).
Classroom assessment and online assessment must be valid and reliable:
Reliability refers to the extent to which assessments are consistent. For example, instruments such as classroom tests and national standardized exams should show consistent results whether a student takes the assessment in the morning or afternoon; one day or the next.
Validity refers to the accuracy of an assessment -- whether or not it measures what it is supposed to measure. Even if a test is reliable, it may not provide a valid measure.
Blackboard Learn system can help in accomplishing all these objectives remotely.
While this tutorial will focus on online tests and exams, question-style assessments can be substituted with other assessment techniques that lend themselves well to remote learning:
A major decision in designing online, question-style examinations is whether the learner must be monitored during the exam, or can the learner take the exam home and complete it on their own. Without at-home monitoring, most solutions should be considered a take-home exam. The following considerations should be given when making the decision to monitor students at home:
As with other assignments, it is important to develop clear and detailed instructions when creating tests for your course. The instructions should include the due date, number of questions, an estimation of how long it should take to complete the exam, and if there are any imposed time limits. For example, if you were giving a pop-quiz the length of time required from the learner would be quite different from the time it would take to complete an exam. Provide this information to your learners at the start, so that they are prepared to complete it.
When you set up a test, determine how many times learners will be able to take it (some systems allow users to take a quiz multiple times), whether there are penalties for incorrectly answered questions or attempts, and how multiple attempts are aggregated (e.g., will the grade be based on the average score, highest, lowest).
Some systems even allow instructors to implement security blockers to mitigate cheating with or without active monitoring of learners. Be sure to configure all of the exam options before making it available to learners. For simplicity, consider using identical settings for all exams in your courses.
Instructors are often concerned about academic honesty when considering online assessment. While it may not be possible to eliminate cheating completely, you can take steps to minimize it:
Blackboard online tests provide high level of accessibility letting learners access tests on most Internet-connected devices and on their own schedule. Blackboard tests also provide important statistics for each question after a test is completed:
Consider the following options for online testing: