If you’re an educator or work at an education institution, you’ll have years of experience in producing valid, reliable, pedagogically sound assessments. They are likely a mix of exams conducted in a traditional pen-and-paper format, and take-home assignments where candidates are permitted to use their computer.

It’s likely that you’ve at least partially made the move to digitalize these assessments, especially since the COVID pandemic, but are you getting the most from your digital assessments?

A high-quality exam paper may have originally been written for paper and pen, but has since been adapted for digital use. A take-home assessment that was created years ago doesn’t acknowledge the wide range of applications students have now.

However, use of a digital assessment platform opens up a new world of question types, methods of delivery and feedback. Putting your existing assessment on screen has some benefits, but you’ll get even more by exploring a digital assessment platform.

 

Moving Your Assessments Online

When transitioning from traditional to digital assessment, keep these considerations in mind.

 Formative Assessments

 

Allow Multiple Attempts and Send Instant Feedback

A formative assessment can be set up so that a candidate can take multiple attempts within a given time period. By using automatically marked questions on a digital assessment ecosystem, like Inspera Assessment, you can allow students to test themselves at their own pace. You can set the maximum number of attempts and then decide what the candidate sees at the end of each one. You may simply want them to see their score along with the highest score they have achieved so far. Or you may want them to see feedback. When you write the questions, you can provide feedback for the whole question. You can also give feedback for the correct option and each distractor. Feedback can be displayed to the student after each attempt.

 

 Summative Assessments

 

Open-Book Timed Assessments Using Real-World Tools

If you want your students to use real-world tools in a flexible environment but within a limited time period, you may be constrained by the tools available to you. For example, a link on a learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment (VLE) could be set to be visible for three hours. However, that’s dependent on a candidate logging in at the precise moment it is visible to receive their full allocated time. They must then calculate their time to ensure they submit before the deadline. On a digital assessment platform, students can log in within a set time window and receive their full time allocation. This reduces assessment anxiety for students.

You can also use the digital assessment platform to combine different question types. For example, you can ask students to create a slide deck and spreadsheet using another app. They can then upload their finished work. After that, they can write a reflective summary within the platform using a text question with a set word limit. Students can then use that summary to explain how they approached the assessment and the choices they made.

A similarity checker can be used as you currently do on an LMS to ensure that candidates have appropriately referenced sources.

Closed-Book Exams with Multimedia and Permitted Resources

You can use videos and pictures when creating questions on a digital assessment platform. During a law exam, students can watch a video of an accident and analyze the available remedies for the person involved. Instead of paragraphs of text a student can see the footage which makes for authentic assessment.

You may set exam rules that forbid students from using their computer for anything except a PDF of case law and statutes that you give them. To support this, you can use a lock-down browser as part of your digital assessment ecosystem to stop access elsewhere online during exams.

 

Digital Transformation

More and more educators are moving either from traditional assessment methods or LMS-based assessments to a dedicated digital assessment platform with wider authoring options and greater flexibility in delivery. This allows educators to not just adapt, but transform their assessments.

A digital assessment platform helps education by making assessments more engaging for students. It also gives educators the ability to enhance their pedagogically sound assessments and provide rich feedback, as well as bring operational efficiency for administrators. Educators and institutions must embrace this transformation so that in an interconnected world, assessments can remain valid and reliable and adapt to learners’ changing needs.

 

 Learn More

Download our free Practical Guide to Digital and Online Assessment to find out how to select the right ecosystem for you.

Written by Ishan Kolhatkar

January 22, 2024