assess learning.PNG

Click on the image above to view the video!

This video is a walkthrough of the strategies, technology, and resources found on this outcome webpage. It was recorded during the summer Resource Toolkit Workshop Series (July 2020). You can access the video using your YSU credentials. Please contact atkaufman@ysu.edu if you are unable to access the video.

If you are utilizing one of the hybrid modalities (Agile-Hybrid, Virtual Campus, Online-Live), then you likely wish use your limited face-to-face or live time very carefully. Including assessments that students complete outside of class time can be one way to evaluate learning without using class time. This topic will focus on assessing learning in an online environment.

  • Align Assessments with Learning Outcomes

    Ensure that the assessments you use align with your course-level learning outcomes, both in focus as well as in level of sophistication. The level of knowledge is often organized around the structure of Blooms Taxonomy (for more information, see the YSU Assessment Handbook). Alignment ensures that you are measuring what the learning goals are for the course. A key question to ask yourself when considering alignment is, “How can students provide me with the best evidence of the course learning outcomes?” For example, if the course outcome is to apply sociological theory in the real world, then a journal assignment asking them to identify a theory in their own life and reflect may be a better assignment than a multiple choice quiz on the theory. For ideas of how outcome alignment looks in different disciplines, see these examples.

  • Consider Using Both Formative and Summative Assessment

    Using both forms of assessment allows students to get a better idea of their progress in the course, allows the faculty member to gauge understanding and progress toward the course learning goals, as well as evaluate knowledge and skills.   

    • Typically formative assessments are no- or low-stakes assignments to gauge understanding. Tools like polls during an online lecture, a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT), or frequent low points quizzes can provide feedback or encourage mastery for students. Formative assessments can even be utilized as teaching tools.
    • Summative assessments are traditional assignments, quizzes ,and tests, meant to evaluate student learning and mastery of course learning outcomes at key points through the semester and are used to determine course grades. Quizzes and exams can be created in Blackboard. (PDF Tutorial; Video Tutorial; Web Tutorial). Attention should be given to writing high quality test items in an online environment.
  • Translate Assessment Techniques to the Hybrid Format

    Many, but not all, assessments can be used in an online environment, but considerations or adjustments may be warranted. There are two main ways to adapt to the online format: utilize technology and adapt test construction.

    • For non-test assignments, there may be ways to utilize Blackboard technologies to collect and foster shared learning experiences. For example, if you typically ask a student to create a thesis statement based on assigned readings, consider instead asking them to post the statement to the class discussion board and have students critique their classmates statements. Blackboard discussion boards can be set to require that a student post before seeing what their classmates wrote.
    • Adapting test construction can allow you to use online quiz tools like multiple choice tests, but rather than factual recall, focusing instead on writing items at higher levels of knowledge like application and analysis. Consider also using take home tests that focus on higher-order thinking. 
      • In some cases, If your students need to work out problems or there is value in having students hand write their test, either hold that test during an in-person class time or consider sending them a test file (or multiple versions of a test file) and allowing them to handwrite their answers and scan using the free app Office Lens. (PDF Tutorial)
    • Using technology can involve techniques like randomizing test questions, putting time limits on tests,  put conditions on tests (like completion in one sitting), or test proctoring.
      • Time limits: if you are concerned about students using outside resources to complete their quiz/exam, consider setting a time limit on your quizzes/exams. If using a timed multiple-choice exam, we recommend setting your time to approximately 60 seconds per question.
      • Randomize test questions: you can also utilize a question pool to randomize tests and quizzes for students. (Video Tutorial; Web Tutorial)
      • Auto-graded quizzes: by building your exam/quiz in Blackboard, you can indicate correct answers and grading will be automatically calculated and entered into the gradebook.
      • Test proctoring: YSU partners with Examity and Respondus to provide support for automated test proctoring. Respondus is the preferred tool for Fall 2020. However, students using Google Chromebooks will not be able to use Respondus. If you have students working on a Google Chromebook, use Examity for proctored exams. Note: Do not use special characters in the title of an exam on Respondus. It will cause the exam to crash for Mac users.
  • Use Rubrics to Communicate Assessment Expectations

    Providing clear explanations to students for the dimensions and performance expectations on assignments or tests can be a very powerful tool. Rubrics help students know what you expect of them and how to focus their time and energy on the most important aspects of the assignment. You can find more on creating rubrics in the Assessment Handbook Rubric Toolkit or here.

For a more in-depth look at assessments in hybrid or blended environments, see the University of Central Florida’s Blended Learning Toolkit section on Assessments. UCF also has a great resource, the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository with faculty authored examples of blended/hybrid teaching strategies, including artifacts from actual courses!