Online Assessment: The Next Generation of Evaluation Systems

19, June 2023

Which students are slow learners? In which areas or subjects have students been facing consistent issues? Finding answers to these questions is critical to assessing the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process.

Hence, conducting an online assessment from time to time is the best strategy for monitoring students’s progress. However, the structure of the examination system has evolved in recent times. Institutes place equal emphasis on assessing student's subject knowledge as well as their skill and competency levels.

Furthermore, the next generation of evaluation systems has already abandoned the one-dimensional approach. Instead, they strive to assess students' comprehensive development; hence, it is only fitting to delve into them in detail.

What are the types of assessments?

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1. Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are end-of-year or end-of-term exams that evaluate subject knowledge or content mastery. Furthermore, they are high-stakes assessments that students undergo towards the end of the course or unit.

Final or annual, mid-term, board exams and standardised exams like the A-levels are summative assessments. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that they induce fear, stress, and anxiety in students.

Therefore, institutes can follow a few core principles in order to create well-structured summative assessments, such as:

  • Institutes must design summative assessments in a variety of formats and include several types of questions to measure different aspects of learning.
  • Providing rubrics to students and teachers will help them gain clarity in terms of learning outcomes and grading criteria.
  • A variety of formats and styles of questions within a summative exam help to assess students' knowledge level. Simultaneously, it helps to cater to students with different learning styles.

2. Formative Assessments

Formative assessments refer to examinations or tests that teachers conduct as part of the ongoing learning process. In fact, it can include class tests, activities, and exercises that teachers can plan and align with the curriculum.

Some of the best formative assessments that teachers can incorporate through the online exam system are as follows:

  • Online Quizzes: They can be in different formats, including multiple-choice questions (MCQs), fill-in-the-blanks, and hotspots. Also, online quizzes are perfect for the purpose of measuring learning objectives across vast learners.
  • Open-Ended (Essay) Questions: Students spend time and effort to think critically and write answers to open-ended (essay) questions. Therefore, there is little to no chance of them copying answers from each other.
  • Online Polls: Online polls or surveys serve to get instant feedback from the learners, helping teachers to share their thoughts.

Furthermore, formative assessments will play a significant role in the next generation of evaluation systems. Why? The reason lies in the techniques that help teachers increase learners's engagement and motivation.

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3. Diagnostic Assessment

Before beginning a lesson or explaining a topic, teachers must determine whether or not students have any idea about the topic. That is where they can implement diagnostic assessments.

In fact, many educators often refer to them as entry and exit slips that they conduct before and after the course or topic. But what does a diagnostic assessment look like? It usually includes a standardised quiz or test with questions related to the topic.

Simultaneously, one-on-one interviews, group discussions, or designing a mind map are additional techniques. Hence, depending on how the students respond, teachers plan and implement instructional strategies accordingly.

4. Confirmative Assessment

Similar to assessing student learning, it is equally important to analyse teachers' methodologies and approaches. Moreover, implementing the same techniques that have been used for the last two years or more leads to ineffective learning.

Hence, confirmative assessment is the need of the hour that teachers can carry out after the end of a unit to evaluate their techniques. Similarly, teachers or students can use it to estimate the latter’s progress.

For instance, they can use it after one lesson or a course or programme to assess students’ understanding and knowledge retention capacity.

5. Criterion-Referenced Assessment

Criterion-referenced assessments are objective tests that have been designed to evaluate student's performance based on specific criteria. Furthermore, a set of standards and criteria are distinguishing features of the tests.

Curriculum guidelines, expert consensus, education policies, and a national education agency set standards for these assessments. Besides, institutes and teachers use them to determine whether students have achieved a competency level in a given skill or area.

Moreover, they are appropriate for ensuring whether or not students have obtained the necessary skills to progress to the next stage of education or profession.

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6. Ipsative Assessment

Ipsative assessments refer to tests that help test a student's performance in comparison to their previous performance. Also, it strives to assess personal growth and progress by comparing the learner's current skills in relation to their past performances.

These assessments focus on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses throughout the academic year. Furthermore, it highlights the changes in students’s learning preferences, helping to identify areas for improvement.

Also, there are no absolute scores, and the emphasis is on the internal ranking of responses and drawing a comparison between past and present performances. Teachers can conduct an ipsative online assessment, helping to enhance student learning outcomes.

Besides, it also provides an appropriate platform through which teachers can send detailed feedback to students. Therefore, students can get insight into their weak and strong areas and work on them accordingly.

7. Outcome-Based Assessment

Outcome-based assessment is an innovative examination approach that allows students to apply their skills and knowledge. Besides, it is a crucial part of outcome-based education (OBE), which highlights the goals and objectives of a course.

Therefore, the curriculum and the teaching methodologies are in sync with the goal-oriented educational mechanism. One of the most crucial steps includes developing OBE assessments that evaluate critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, etc.

Teachers can implement outcome-based assessments in the classroom in the following ways:

  • Summative and Formative Assessments: Teachers can conduct OBE assessments through formative assessments to provide feedback. At the same time, they can gauge student's overall growth, progress, and skill levels through summative assessments.
  • Experiential Learning: In this approach, the focus shifts from passive knowledge acquisition to practical learning. Therefore, teachers employ active learning exercises, including group projects, assignments, portfolios, etc.
  • Learner-Centric Approach: OBE is a learner-centric approach that focuses on the skill and competency levels of students. Teachers assess learners’s progress according to the stipulated outcomes.
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What are the advantages of online assessments?

It is noteworthy to point out that institutes can incorporate different kinds of assessments into the digitalized platform. However, they require robust online exam software to implement these strategic assessments that provide the following benefits:.

Reduced Administrative Burden

Teachers and administrators don’t need to spend extra time and effort preparing question papers and printing them out.

Enhanced Engagement

Interactive features and techniques are notable aspects of online learning and exams, for example, microlearning and entry and exit polls. Consequently, it captures student's attention and helps them retain knowledge for a long period of time.

Real-time Feedback

Teachers can utilise advanced learning tools like the learning management system to implement different types of formative assessments. In fact, the system also helps to provide real-time feedback to students, helping to highlight the weak and strong areas.

Analytical Reports

Teachers succeed in obtaining a comprehensive performance report for students through online exams. Additionally, these reports help to determine whether students have made any progress from the start of the term to the end of it.

Continuous Learning

Online assessments provide a significant benefit, wherein students can take part in mini-tests on their smartphones. For instance, quizzes, drag-and-drop, MCQs, etc. are a great way to self-assess one’s learning and understanding of concepts.

Summing it up,

The next generation of evaluation systems is here, and they focus on the comprehensive development of students. In fact, online exams are integral to the new-age examination structure, which will evaluate student's ongoing progress.

Also, it will serve to assess learners’ core skills, competency, and knowledge acquisition that make up an individual’s overall capability.

Posted By -
Gurudev Somani

Gurudev Somani,
Academic Consultant