This quick guide provides an introduction to assessment as you move to remote teaching. It outlines key steps to Plan, Modify, and Implement when making this move to optimize student learning. As with any steps you take in moving to remote teaching, it’s important to anchor your decisions in course learning objectives and to be transparent, flexible, and generous with students.
When planning to assess for remote teaching, it’s important to reference the objectives in your syllabus and plan your assessments based on those objectives. Then, be realistic about how your objectives can now be met in a remote teaching environment. Consider how you will ask students to now demonstrate their learning and then realign and/or match your assessments to your remote-specific objectives.
Having thought about your objectives and aligning your assessments to them, the next step is to modify your assessments to best suit remote delivery.
Modify your paper exams - convert to D2L
The primary tool you should use to deliver assessments is D2L. If you normally give paper exams, you’ll need to type them into D2L’s quizzing tool. The tool will allow most question types.
Modify your assessment
Be aware that students may be managing online assessments for the first time, and that may affect their performance. Try to avoid letting external factors (e.g. the use of new technology) factor in to the final grade on the assessments.
Modify your submission strategies
If you have students do presentations, group projects, or other performance-based assessments, then you may need to consider how those will be demonstrated. They can use the same tools to do this as you – Zoom or MediaSpace – but they may need additional support to use these potentially new tools.
Consider adjustments to your posted assessment schedule
Modifying materials and assessments to meet the unique demands of a remote environment is important. Offer exams at the times and dates indicated in your syllabus. If you choose to modify the submission of your assessments, do so with attention toward why you’re doing this and communicate that to students.
In implementing assessments remotely, remember best practices for assessments should still apply. Consider offering both formative and summative assessments, be conscious of test security and academic integrity, and provide meaningful and timely feedback.
Formative assessments check for understanding or evaluation of course effectiveness, are often un-graded, and are low stakes and can be moved into the suggested remote spaces. The following are some digital alternatives to common formative assessment approaches:
- Strategic questioning (use DL2 discussion forums)
- Checks for understanding (use D2L surveys or low-stakes quizzes)
- Peer feedback (use D2L discussion forums)
- Pausing for reflection (use blogging or portfolio tools)
- Formative use of summative assessments (spend time after a test or exam reviewing common errors and collective successes)
- Acting upon student input (use D2L surveys to ask students how the course is going, and act upon their feedback)
Summative assessments are used to quantify students’ understanding of course concepts and objectives. Using D2L for objective summative testing is the best option for offering remote assessments.
- Consider an open-note format.
- Re-write your questions so they are rigorous even if students have access to their notes and texts.
- Consider a timed test
- Limiting the time students have can keep the rigor high and reduce over-reliance on notes and the Internet (if your test is open note). If setting a time limit, do so strategically. Test how long the exam should take, and set time from there.
- Consider a large test pool
- Writing a large pool of questions and having D2L randomly draw questions from them can help increase test integrity.
- Consider randomizing answers
- D2L can randomize the order of your multiple choice answers. This can help improve test integrity.
- For written work, consider using rubrics
- D2L’s rubric tool can make grading more efficient and can serve to help students prepare better written products
Provide Meaningful Feedback
- Consider using D2L and MediaSpace to provide feedback.
- For written work, use D2L’s rubric tool and/or the review features in MS Word to provide written commentary
- Consider using D2L’s item analysis tool to review objective tests. Consider creating a screen capture video using MediaSpace to verbally review the test, discussing common errors and collective successes
- Use the D2L discussion forum to generate student contributions and reply to comments. In large classes, replying to everyone is not feasible, but selective commenting or general comments that address multiple perspectives can solidify teacher presence.
For additional help and support, please check out the other remote teaching articles here, or contact the MSU IT Service Desk at local (517) 432-6200 or toll free (844) 678-6200.