For a condensed overview check out Assessment Research, Resources and Rationale
Co-Authored by experienced educators in online learning who teach at a distance learning school. These resources were created through experience and supported by academic research. The created resources are current (created July 2020), relevant (addresses assessment learning outcomes), authoritative (co-created by educators who are students in a Master of Education program), accurate and purposeful (instructional demonstration).
Our group focused on assessment as a learning outcome. We created several outcomes that highlight the important features of assessing in an online environment. We chose to create three resources to address the following learning outcomes.
1) Identify self-assessment tools that allow students to engage with content through: Explanation , Justification , and Personal connection.
2) Investigate and utilize various forms of formative and summative assessment for online learning environments.
3) Develop a variety of assessment methods to engage students in a subject area using technology: consider teaching/learning environment (online vs. blended), personalized to consider student needs, voice and choice , and use assessment to inform instruction
4) Construct timely assessment or appropriate support to ensure student success: check-ins, support blocks, office hours, communication home .
myBlueprint Assessment Strategies:
The myBlueprint video below, is a resource that demonstrates how to utilize myBlueprint as an assessment tool. Students can reflect, explain, justify and demonstrate personal connections through written, video and audio submissions. It is important that teachers choose accessible digital tools for student assessment. Teachers can give valuable and timely feedback on all submissions. This platform allows for continual student-teacher communication, which directly improves student learning.
Formative and Summative Assessment in an Online Environment:
The Infographic below outlines various assessment strategies for both formative and summative assessment. It details which digital tools are well suited to assess students in both online learning and classroom environments. It is important that both formative and summative assessment are imbedded in all learning environments where teachers use a variety of assessment strategies to inform their teaching practices and evaluate students’ learning.
Moodle Formatting for Timely Feedback:
The instructional videos below demonstrate how to structure a class on the Moodle learning platform in order to achieve timely assessment. Moodle was selected to demonstrate what the framework can look like under one central learning management system. Other systems such as Blackboard and Canvas, or combination like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams can use the same formatting framework.
1) Weekly Schedule
3) Student Activity
Created Resources – evaluated using the CRAAP test
This resource is current (created July 2020), relevant (addresses assessment learning outcomes), authoritative (co-created by educators who are students in a Master of Education program), accurate and purposeful (instructional demonstration). Video is instructional and informative on how to use myBlueprint program to assess students’ understanding. This video was created by distance learning educators in a Master of Education program to demonstrate how the digital tool can be used for both formative and summative assessments.
Formative and Summative Assessment in an Online Environment Infographic.:
This resource is current (created July 2020), relevant (addresses assessment learning outcomes), authoritative (co-created by distance learning educators who are students in a Master of Education program), accurate and purposeful (collection of digital tools related to assessment). Infographic addresses various forms of assessment within an online environment. Created by distance learning educators in a Master of Education program to inform other teachers of ways to assess students. The infographic provides suggestions of digital tools that can be integrated into various classroom environments including online contexts.
Moodle Formatting for Timely Feedback:
This resource is current (created July 2020), relevant (addresses assessment learning outcomes), authoritative (co-created by distance learning educators who are students in a Master of Education program), accurate and purposeful (instructional demonstration). These videos are to help teachers who are looking for structures or supports in building their online classroom. Moodle was selected to demonstrate what the framework can look like under one central learning management system. Other systems such as Blackboard and Canvas, or combination like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams can use the same formatting framework.
Assessment is a crucial component of learning used in both K-12 and post-secondary education. In order to support other educators, we wanted to examine assessment through the lens of an online learning environment. Assessment is meant to focus on “student involvement and authentic, meaningful assessment, leading to the development of a variety of assessment forms” (Weurlander et al., 2012). Quality assessment requires knowledge of provincial curriculum frameworks, district vision and goals, as well as teachers’ expertise with traditional and online tools to support it. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on competence-based curriculum focusing on “capability rather than factual knowledge” (Weurlander et al., 2012). The resources we curated as well as the resources we created are supported by research and support our learning outcomes.
Formative and summative assessment are vital aspects of all learning environments. Formative assessment informs teachers of students ongoing learning and understanding, whereas summative is a final capturing of students overall learning. According to Weurlander et al. (2012) formative assessment can influence “students’ learning in a number of ways. It sends messages about what counts as important knowledge; it has an impact on students’ approach to learning and gives feedback to students about their learning” (p. 749). Additionally, they included research that found formative assessment “positive[ly] impact[s] student learning” (p. 749). When considering or creating assessment, it is important to include a variety of “assessment tasks [as they] have the potential to support student learning in different ways” (p.758). Moreover, a multitude of assessment strategies, including collaborative and blended learning approaches, increases student engagement (Vaughan, 2014).
Summative assessment is meant to be a final snapshot of students learning. However, it can exclude learners or create anxiety when the stakes are high for a singular assessment for both in-person and online learning environments states that, “[h]igh– stakes tests are inevitably designed to be as ‘objective’ as possible, since there is a premium on reliable marking in the interests of fairness. This has the effect of reducing what is assessed to what can be readily and reliably marked. Generally, this excludes many worthwhile outcomes of education such as problem-solving and critical thinking” (p. 209).
Another concern about high-stakes summative assessments is that they may encourage cheating, a pressing concern for teachers, particularly in an online environment (Mellar et at.,2018). Creating a variety of authentic summative assessments and giving students choice can help to ensure their validity (Mellar et al., 2018). Therefore, it is imperative that students are provided with a variety of summative assessments with low stakes when teaching online.
When integrating formative and summative assessment strategies, teachers should consider the quantity, as creating too many assessments to track student progress can have a negative impact (Vaughan, 2014). This also restricts teachers from providing timely feedback to their students, a key component of successful online learning (Gaytan and Mcewen, 2007). “Feedback is therefore a key component in formative assessment, and students need to understand and be able to act on the feedback they receive in order to improve their learning” (Black and Wiliam 1998; Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick 2006; Sadler 1989, 1998; as cited in Weurlander et al.,2012., p. 748). Furthermore, Shea and Bidjerano (2010) discovered that teaching presence along with teaching students the technological skills they need to complete and navigate given tasks leads to “successful online learning” (p. 1727). Thus, well planned online learning experiences along with feedback, help and encouragement also improves learning success for at risk learners (Hughes, 2007).
In conclusion, when considering online or in-person teaching environments, summative and formative assessments are vital. Formative assessment should be used to continually check in with students about their understanding of content, leading into a summative review of their learning. When assessing students, a variety of tools and strategies should be used in order to reach all learners for both types of assessments. Overall, the focus of this project was to provide teachers with a realistic and comprehensive overview of what assessment in classroom and online environments could entail.
- Gaytan, J., & Mcewen, B. C. (2007). Effective Online Instructional and Assessment Strategies. American Journal of Distance Education, 21(3), 117–132. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923640701341653
- Harlen, W. (2005). Teachers’ summative practices and assessment for learning – tensions and synergies. The Curriculum Journal, 16(2), 207–223. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585170500136093
- Hughes, G. (2007). Using blended learning to increase learner support and improve retention. Teaching in Higher Education, 12(3), 349-363. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13562510701278690
- Mellar, H., Peytcheva-Forsyth, R., Kocdar, S., Karadeniz, A., & Yovkova, B. (2018). Addressing cheating in e-assessment using student authentication and authorship checking systems: teachers’ perspectives. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40979-018-0025-x
- Shea, P., & Bidjerano, T. (2010). Learning presence: Towards a theory of self-efficacy, self-regulation, and the development of a communities of inquiry in online and blended learning environments. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1721–1731. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.07.017
- Vaughan, N. (2014). Student Engagement and Blended Learning: Making the Assessment Connection. Education Sciences, 4(4), 247–264. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci4040247
- Weurlander, W., & Soderberg, M., & Scheja, M., & Hakan, H., & Wernerson, A., (2012). Exploring formative assessment as a tool for learning: students’ experiences of different methods of formative assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 37.(6). 747-760, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.572153
Co-Authored by Faune Nicholas, Jerry Chien, Leanne Huston, and Rochelle Smith