How to review your institution’s current assessment strategy

Suzanna Doran
September 17, 2021

Implementing a new assessment solution is a momentous journey that brings with it opportunities for streamlining internal processes, modernising exam practices, improving sustainability and much more. As with any major process change, it requires time and resources and affects many different stakeholders across the institution. That’s why it’s so important to get it right and we’re here to help. 

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we’ll share information about the steps to take when choosing a new assessment platform for your institution.

To find out more, you can download our free guide which covers this process from start to finish.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to review your current assessment strategy, considering what your goals are, what’s working well and what can be improved. For this to work well, staff from different parts of the institution should contribute - see this article about choosing the right project team - and students’ voices should be considered, if possible.

What you assess and how

Start by making a list of each type of assessment carried out at your institution and the medium used. As well as formal, summative assessments such as end-of-year exams, you could consider coursework and formative assessments such as in-class quizzes or tests. For example, you may include the following:

Assessment Types 
Assessment Mediums

Summative assessment

Formative assessment

Practical exams

Oral exams


Informal quizzes or tests

Paper exams

Digital assessment platform


In person-presentations


The pros and cons of your current assessment strategy

Now, it’s time to consider which elements of your current assessments work well and which are causing issues. You may want to consider elements such as:

  • Ease of administrative tasks
  • Test-taker experience
  • Ease of exam creation
  • Ease of marking
  • Academic integrity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Accessibility
  • Digital resilience
  • Digital Literacy among all stakeholders; faculty, staff and students
  • Authentic or varied assessment types

You may now want to map out the pros and cons of each type of assessment: for instance, what are the benefits of paper exams and what are the drawbacks? It could be that you discover some conflicting pros and cons. To give another possible example, whilst your VLE may provide a good student experience for formative or open-book assessments, it falls short for students when it comes to summative assessments.

At this stage, you’ll be ready to start comparing platforms and feature sets. We’ll cover this in our next blog post so come back next week to find out more. Don’t want to wait that long? Download our free e-book to get tips for every stage of the evaluation process now.  

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