How will you assess student learning?
- Exams pose a particular challenge in a situation where everyone is on their own. The online format does not allow instructors the same ability to proctor exams as they have in class. In order to minimize incidents of academic integrity violations for online exams while still ensuring they accurately reflect student learning, see the document Protect Purdue Guidance on Exams and consider the following principles in creating and modifying exams:
- Allowing exams to be open-book/source: Assume students will use resources while taking an exam, and even encourage them to do so. Try to ask questions that probe deeper levels of knowledge and understanding, enabling students to apply, assess, and evaluate concepts and facts in meaningful ways. Encourage students to share and cite where they get information from and what resources they use.
- Encourage students to collaborate/share questions and ideas: Students will likely work together when they are stuck or confused. You can encourage working in small teams and ask them to include who they work with and in what ways.
- Focus on solving problems while showing work and explanations: In many cases, students may get the same answer, but showing their work reveals meaningful differences in understanding. Sometimes there may only be a few ways to show work, so you may ask for brief prose explanations, or have students record a video of them talking through the process to solve a question.
- Use question pools: If you have short-answer or multiple-choice questions, create pools in your LMS so that students receive different sets of questions (this can also be done with essays and more complex questions).
- Use student-generated questions with explanations: Instead of trying to ensure everyone answers your limited number of questions on their own, ask every student to create their own question with an explanation of how it would assess a certain topic or skill in a meaningful way. You can also assign students to answer each other’s questions and state whether those questions actually do assess these skills in appropriate ways.
- Ensure clarity in questions and prompts: Especially if your test is timed, your students may not have a chance to ask a question and get a response. It is vital that questions and prompts are clear to novices so your assessment measures what you want it to. Even if not timed, you do not want to be spending your limited time answering clarifying questions.
- Consider question formats leading to essays, videos, pictures, and other personal responses: If your class lends itself to it, having students express their learning through essays, videos, pictures, or other personalized forms of writing/speaking/communicating means that everyone needs to create their own. You can also have students post their responses for each other and assess each other’s work through peer grading. Rubrics can help guide students as they develop such work, give each other feedback, and, of course, allow your teaching assistants and you a consistent method of assessment.
- Respect your own time: Most of these ideas take time to grade. Try to determine what is feasible in your situation, and use feedback-based or hand-grading intensive assessments sparingly. Also consider how much feedback students actually need/will use. Many times feedback can be created for the whole group based on common challenges or problems, as opposed to individual responses.
- Testing technologies: Currently, Purdue offers two tested technologies that can facilitate remote exams where you do not interact directly with students.
- Brightspace has a robust exam tool that allows for multiple-choice, short-answer, true/false, or short- or long-answer exams. This can be a great alternative to exams that were previously offered via Scantron or as written exams.
- Gradescope is a third-party grading tool that integrates with Blackboard or Brightspace and allows students to scan and submit homework or exams via their cell phones. Students can provide answers on their own paper, so they don’t need to print off the exam or assignment. Gradescope is ideal for assessing written calculations, graphs, models, or other activities that cannot easily be completed through Blackboard. For more information on getting started with Gradescope, you can view their video tutorials, student workflow guide, or contact email@example.com.
For questions about teaching remotely or Purdue-supported technologies tied to your course, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact ITaP Tech Support (email@example.com) if you have issues with: Logging in to Brightspace or WebEx; accessing BoilerKey or email; or to address phishing questions. Tech Support is also still available by phone 765-494-4000.