A change in modality often means needing to adapt your assessment method. Consider these ideas and tips for adapting your assessments to work with your teaching modality.
Questions to ask yourself…
“Can I give open book tests? For example, can students take a HuskyCT based test/quiz with any of the following question types (M/C, T/F, Short Answer, Essay, Matching) without a proctored situation?”
Yes, faculty have the ability to change their assessment methods including how tests and exams are delivered and proctored. The priority is to match the assessment type with your learning objectives.
“If how I teach needs to change mid-semester, can I adjust/change the type of assessments used throughout the course from what was originally stated in my syllabus?”
Yes and in fact faculty are encouraged to look at alternative forms of assessment. Any changes to existing tests, quizzes, and other ongoing class assessments should be noted in the syllabus and clearly communicated to students as soon as possible.
“If I have an in-person, hybrid/blended, split course, or distance learning course (any course with a specific course time or final exam time), can I make students take assessments and final exams outside of the normal class hours or finals schedule for my course?”
No. You can only require students to take exams during the time-period originally scheduled for the in-person class meeting time or the official final exam block. You can offer students a range of times in which they can take quizzes, tests, and exams as long as the original class or exam block is one of the options they can choose from.
Planning and Creating Assessments
These strategies will help you both adapt existing assessments and create new assessments that are better aligned with your learning objectives and accounting for the challenges and affordances of teaching in different modalities. All strategies discussed are intended to better help you decide the best way to measure your students’ achievement of your course learning objectives.
Previously you may have used one type of assessment in your course but a wide variety of options are available. By reflecting on the essential learning objective, leveraging technology and providing the appropriate support and feedback for students, we hope that all instructors are able to provide effective assessments and to assure student learning. We are also here to help. Contact our staff in CETL to discuss any of the strategies you find here.
Tips for adapting your assessments
View the assessment types below and our recommendations for how you might plan, prepare and leverage technology to accomplish your course goals:
Ongoing course, midterm, and final assessments
- Lower the Impact. Consider the potential impact of high stakes assessments. If appropriate, reduce the stakes of these assessments given the high stress environment everyone is experiencing.
- Add more Time. Students may need more time than usual to navigate the interface, process questions, and type their answers, particularly if they must diagram, create equations, or create a record of what they have done with video, audio, or photographic evidence.
- Support Students who Require Accommodations. If you use timed assessments, be prepared to make adjustments for documented accommodations. Additionally, some students may require adaptive technology, paper-based exams, captioning, or other accommodations during assessments. Consult with the UConn’s Center for Students With Disabilities if you need assistance adapting for documented accommodations in the virtual environment.
- Use the HuskyCT assessment tool and develop a strategy for an exam format that will work remotely. Questions traditionally distributed on paper can be uploaded in many formats including multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the blank, and essay questions.
- Responses for multiple choice or true/false can be automatically scored.
- Questions can be randomly shuffled for each student, ensuring that each student receives a different, but parallel, form of the test.
- Question responses(answers) in multiple choice questions can be randomized.
- Test banks can be used to provide further randomization of questions.
- Pay attention to aligning test questions to learning objectives and create question banks around your objectives. This will enable more consistent assessment delivery to students.
- Write additional questions and use quiz banks to randomize the questions and question order. Insert more open-ended questions, including ones that ask students to describe their process or thinking for arriving at an answer.
- Many students do not have access to printers so do not require printing of an exam.
- After creating hand-drawn equations or diagrams students can take pictures of their work or scan the images and submit by email (using a scanning app such as Adobe Scan to PDF APPif students have access to the appropriate devices).
- Recorded voice messages (using Kaltura, Flipgrid, other apps, or even just their smartphone) can also be used, where students can describe the process they employed to get to an answer, discuss their perspective, or critically evaluate a situation or problem.
Promoting Academic Integrity:
- Make academic integrity expectations clear in the exam directions. Ask students to sign and submit an integrity commitment before the exam takes place, or create a first or last question within the exam itself asking them to commit to your integrity expectations.
- Review guidelines and suggestions for verifying students identity in the event of disruptions to teaching and learning
- Consider an adaptation to open note/open book tests that require citations of class notes and readings.
- Create multiple versions of the same type of exams (e.g., Written exams with different prompts that meet the same objectives. Different equations to solve that show mastery of the same mathematical/scientific concept. Different M/C questions that address the same objectives).
- If you require monitoring of student behavior while they take tests, use Respondus Lockdown with Monitor or serve as a live-proctor using Webex or Teams. If you intend to use Lockdown, consider first creating a practice quiz as a low/no-stakes way to gain experience with the tool. (Tip:Providing minimal points will increase participation substantially.) Note: This option requires a device with a camera and microphone and consistent internet access. Be prepared with a backup plan in the event students do not have these or experience technical difficulties.
- For assessments requiring students to submit a paper, written or visual project, data analysis, or some other document, these can be submitted in HuskyCT using the Assignments tool.
Promoting Academic Integrity:
- Use the built-in Safe Assign tool in HuskyCT.
- Assign outlines, drafts, and revisions to written assignments. Web conference with your students to discuss their writing process, their learning, and to monitor their progress over time to ensure they are the only authors.
- Add peer review components to written work requiring students to incorporate suggestions to make cogent arguments for rejecting peer critique. Web conference with your students to discuss their response to peer critique.
Practical / Performance Assessments
- If your students are performing a practical or applied final, decide whether this must take place in real-time or if it can be recorded.
- If you and other graders or evaluators must interact with the student in real-time, schedule a Collaborate, Webex, or Teams meeting.
- If the performance can be recorded, create a HuskyCT assignment and allow students to upload a video file or share a link to a streaming video.
NOTE: These options require a device with a camera and microphone and high-speed internet access. Work with your students to determine who cannot meet those requirements. If you have students who will not have access for the duration of the performance or assessment, work with the students and your department chair to find access alternatives.
Existing Alternative Assessments
- Many alternative forms of assessment are already designed with flexibility and student differences in mind. This is a great opportunity to revisit the alternative assessments you already have in place and further revise them to meet the unique needs and affordances of the online environment whether this is expanding these assessments across more time or reducing them to a shorter window.
- Use video conferencing tools like Collaborate to encourage students working in groups to collaborate more frequently and flexibly.
- Ask students how they can use their at hand technology to record, track and share their learning in ways you may not be aware of. Note:Keep in mind any use of social media or other web-based services raises the topic of privacy. If you are using a non-sanctioned service or social media platform for University teaching, be aware that you are responsible for following FERPA guidelines related to student work and learning experiences.
Individual or Group Presentation
- If presentations are an important final assignment, there are many options students can use to create a presentation and submit it to HuskyCT. Note: Assess only the key course outcomes. Unless digital recording and virtual public speaking skills are part of the learning outcomes, keep the grading and feedback focused on the content rather than the delivery.
- Access to both preferred devices and stable consistent internet are key considerations when determining which option will work for your students. Here are some options:
- Video recording: Students can record a slide presentation in PowerPoint or in a recorded Kaltura session. They can then submit a link to a HuskyCT Assignment or embed the video in the Assignment’s content editor (using the “mashup tool”).
- Slides and notes: Students create a PowerPoint or Google Slides file with typed notes for the spoken presentation. This is a good option for students without a microphone or webcam and those who don’t have high-speed internet to upload a large video file. It could also drastically reduce your grading time.
- Collaborate meetings: If you feel the presentation must be live, offer multiple time slots and allow students to sign up for times that work for them– but record the sessions, as well.
- Virtual poster session: If having students share work with each other is essential, create a virtual poster session by creating a Discussion Forum in HuskyCT. Each student posts their presentation and gives feedback to others. Offer options for peer feedback including text or audio responses. In large courses, use the Groups tool to create small groups (of 4-8 students) and ask them to comment on two others so everyone receives feedback.
Create a new assessment
Design assessments with answers requiring synthesis and critical thinking, answers that cannot be googled, or answers that are unique to every student’s specific assessment. Think about making assessments authentic to how students will eventually apply the knowledge and skills they learn. Ask students to apply their learning to real world situations or scenarios for which they have a vested interest.
- Consider other ways that the primary learning outcomes could be assessed. Would a paper or video presentation be possible? Poster presentations? E-portfolio documents? For ideas, see Ryerson University’s “Best Practices for Alternative Assessments”.pdf.
- Could you create an open-book or open-resource assessment? How might the skills or knowledge be used in a real-world setting and how could you have students perform a similar task?
- See additional tips for constructing take-home exams from Bengtsson, 2019.
- Ask students to develop assessment questions and projects for their peers with the answers to these problems.
- Create multiple types of exams/assessments that measure the same objectives but allow for variation between students (Standard final, project-based, open book, other alternative assessments).
When transitioning to a new assessment, be sure to:
- Describe what students will need to know or be able to do (i.e., identify what will be assessed) and how they should complete and submit the assessment.
- Identify how points (and how many) will be awarded for each prompt/component.
- Let students know how, if at all, the new assessment(s) will affect the way course grades are calculated
Note: Try to keep these changes minimal.
- In all cases, share with students that this is new for you as well, and solicit their feedback to clarify assessment expectations.
Some Further Ideas:
- Take home exams in multiple formats
- Use Collaborate or WebEx to monitor students as they are writing. Have them show results to webcam as a baseline and submit photo versions through Scan or Phone Photo submission to teacher.
- Assign group exams. A similar philosophy as open book except instead of a book, students become resources to each other. Before handing the exam in they grade/rank each other on relative contributions to exam (only visible to instructor).
- Assign a Google Doc to each student and observe their progress in the document.
- Ask students to collaborate on a final group video presentation, live or recorded. Use peer evaluation during the creation process and again at the end of the process.
- Assign an annotated anthology or bibliography
- Use an E-portfolio as a place for students to capture artifacts of their learning over time. Ask for written reflection on their learning. Ask for a synthesis of all of their learning as reflected in their selected artifacts. Prompt them to connect the artifacts to stated course learning objectives.
Promote academic integrity
If your class exams are subject to identity verification and/or proctoring requirements, you can use Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor which is integrated within the HuskyCT platform. The technology provides a way to capture student identity and monitor students as they complete their exams. Respondus Lockdown with Monitor doesn’t require scheduling (other than activating it in the HuskyCT settings) and is available 24 hours as day. A few things to consider while requiring ID verification and online proctoring:
- Notify students on your syllabus if you will be using Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor as a proctoring method.
- Remember that students are experiencing major disruptions, and stress affects learning. Even if they have used digital proctoring before, provide additional support for tool use, practice, and reassurance to help them prepare.
- Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor’s minimum system requirements are listed on this page. Monitor requires the following:
- Windows: 10, 8, 7
- Mac: OS X 10.10 or higher
- iOS: 10.0+ (iPad only).
- Web camera (internal or external)
- A microphone
- A broadband internet connection
- Respondus Monitor requires Wi-Fi access and a device with a camera and microphone and high-speed internet access. Work with your students to determine who cannot meet those requirements.
- Verify with your students that rely on accommodations that their technology is compatible with Respondus Monitor. Remember requests for accommodation may arise and see the ITS “IT Accessibility” site. Consult with the UConn’s Center for Students WIth Disabilities if you need assistance adapting for documented accommodations in the online environment.
- We strongly recommend that you set up a practice opportunity to test the software and get used to the interface in advance of the final. Practice quizzes, low stake assessments, and syllabi quizzes in HuskyCT are some examples.
- As another preventative measure, consider building test question pools in HuskyCT. Each student can receive different questions from within a set making each test unique. Grouping questions by objective can assure that the test is representative of the material being assessed and that the content being assessed is the same for each student. This, ultimately, makes student collaboration much more difficult especially when used with a technology like Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor.
- Enable Safe Assign for written final papers.
- Designing & Developing Online Assessments | UConn eCampus Article
- Pros and Cons of Assessments Types in Online Courses.pdf | Gloria Rogers
- Choosing the Right Assessment Tools.pdf | Based on Fulks, Janet, “Assessing Student Learning in Community Colleges”
- Take-home exams in higher education: a systematic review | L. Bengtsson
- 10 Assessment Design Tips for Increasing Online Student Retention, Satisfaction and Learning | Bernard Bull EdD, Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning
- Formative Assessment Techniques for Online Learning | Emily Faulconer and Beverly Wood
- A Glossary of Terms Used in Educational Assessment | M. Freedman and J. Houtz, National Association for Gifted Children
- Assignment Library | National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment