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All things E-Assessment…

9 October 2014

By Allan Theophanides

Recently the team has received a number of queries asking for help or advice with regards eAssessment.  As such, that’s not a problem; it’s exactly the kind of thing we can help with. However it became evident very quickly that different people have very different ideas as to what eAssessment actually is! This week then, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a glossary of terms explaining all things ‘eAssessment’. The glossary includes a brief explanation of each term, along with a working example, what the University currently has to support each one, and any other associated terms that you might have heard the definition called. It’s also worth knowing that, in JISC’s ‘Effective practice with e-Assessment’ guide they refer to modes of eAssessment as falling into two main categories:

  • Computer-assisted assessment (CAA) – refers to the practice that lies in part on computers (sometimes also called computer-aided assessment).
  • Computer-based assessment (CBA) – refers to assessments delivered and marked by the computer.

So I have also included which of these two categories each mode of assessment falls into. Hopefully the following glossary will give you a better idea as to what modes of eAssessment might be useful to you and your students.

eAssessment – the use of technology during any part of an assessment activity regardless of whether it is formative or summative, online or offline.

  • Working example:  a student submits text/graphics/audio/video (or any piece of assessed work) through a designated web based system that is then usually assessed by a member of University staff (and feedback given where appropriate) or marked by the computer.
  • Current University provision:  there is no software or system that maps to ‘eAssessment’ as it is a top-level ‘umbrella’ definition for the whole practice of eAssessment.
  • AKA:  ‘electronic assessment’, ‘online assessment’.
  • CAA or CBA?:  CAA and CBA (eAssessment is an umbrella term).

eAssignment – the use of technology to allow students to submit work electronically that can also be used for marking/grading electronically as well as delivering feedback on an assignment.  If students are just submitting work electronically this can be considered a process of ‘eAssignment’; however at least two of the three stages (Submission/Marking/Feedback) need to be used for a ‘true’ eAssignment.

  • Working example:  a member of staff creates an eAssignment on the institutional VLE that contains an essay question.  A student then uploads their essay in Word format to the created eAssignment where the lecturer/teacher receives it and comments on and grades the work on-screen and submits feedback online.  The student then receives a notification that their work has been marked and logs in to receive their results.
  • Current University provision:  Learning Central ‘Assignment’ and Turnitin (with Grademark).
  • AKA:  ‘electronic assignment’, ‘online assignment’, ‘eAssessment’, ‘electronic coursework’.
  • CAA or CBA?:  CAA.

Online Tests – use of technology to deliver questions of different types to students; generally used for automated marking, but can be used, at least partially, for lecturer/assessor-based marking.  The main advantage of this mode is the ability to give instant feedback to students when automated marking is used (most commonly through MCQs, but question types like true/false, missing words, and others, also fit this mode).  This method of assessment can be used to allow lecturers/teachers to see students’ results and track their learning progress.  It also can be used by the student as a self assessment tool where they can continually test themselves, and the feedback can either be given instantly or after some human intervention, as well as be visible or invisible to staff.

  • Working example:  a lecturer/teacher creates a series of 100 multiple choice questions online, then creates a test that randomly selects 10 questions for students to complete. The test is then sent to the students who are asked to answer them before a lecture, but the feedback is not given to them.  At the end of the lecture the member of teaching staff asks the students to complete the randomised questions again, after which the feedback of both tests is made available so that students can compare their progress.
  • Current University provision:  Learning Central, Questionmark Perception (caution: limited support), Xerte.
  • AKA:  ‘Online SBA Tests’, ‘e-assessment’, ‘e-MCQs’.
  • CAA or CBA?:  CBA

Online Surveys – use of technology to post questions (MCQs or open ended) for data collection purposes.  Usually feedback to users is not given after being completed, however the collated responses can sometimes be shown straight after completion, or not at all.  Alternatively the staff responsible may make the results available to users analysing the data.  Identities of the respondents are kept anonymous.

  • Working Example:  A lecturer/teacher wishes to obtain module feedback from students on their teaching.  They develop an online survey to ask the required questions and make it available on the institutional VLE.  Students complete the survey and submit their responses.  Feedback to students is not given, but the lecturer/teacher gets to see the collected response statistics as the responses come in.
  • Current University Provision:  Learning Central, BOS (Bristol Online Survey System).
  • AKA:  ‘Online Polling’, ‘Online voting’, ‘eSurvey’, ‘Online survey’.
  • CAA or CBA?: CBA.

Electronic Voting – use of technology to pose questions to students for response synchronously (all at the same time) using either localised hardware (such as clickers) or online services (via BYOD – ‘Bring Your Own Device’) to collect responses. Alternatively this mode can be used asynchronously (not at the same time) using online services to save responses from users devices over a designated period of time.  These results are then collated and can be given on completion, not at all or after a specified amount of time, depending on what the lecturer/teacher requires from the activity.

  • Working Example: A lecturer/teacher creates a quick poll by asking quick MCQ-style response questions which assesses student levels of understanding of a particular topic. Based on the level of correct responses, the lecturer/teacher uses this data to decide whether to explain specific concepts further, or continue as planned.
  • Current University Provision:  Learning Central/PollEverywhere
  • AKA: ‘Online voting’, ‘Online polling’, ‘Audience Response Systems’, ‘Clickers’, ‘Classroom Voting’.
  • CAA or CBA?: CBA.

Electronic Peer Assessment – use of technology to collect and process peer marking between students and feed back the results to the relevant individuals.

  • Working Example:  Students are split into groups of 10 and have to perform a practical demonstration of a learned procedure.  The students then mark each other’s performance at the demonstration using an electronic system which feeds the final outcomes back once all 10 peers have performed their task.
  • Current University Provision:  Learning Central, WebPA (caution: limited support), Turnitin.
  • AKA:  ‘Peer marking’, ‘Peer assessment’, ‘Group work’, ‘Group assessment’.
  • CAA or CBA?:  CBA.

These are the main terms you are likely to come across when addressing the subject of eAssessment; it’s not exhaustive, so if you have any you would like to add, please leave us a comment.  If you have any questions or queries about these definitions, or are interested in exploring any of these concepts in your teaching, then please get in contact via the ELTT email address