6.1 Digital assessment

Digital assessment

Key Concept: State how assessment relates to the module and programme learning objectives

There are several supported tools and approaches for assessment using Yorkshare or Google Apps. This section of the handbook provides advice on the use of technology in assessment, with specific approaches outlined in 6.3 Formative assessment and 6.4 Summative anonymous assessment.

Concepts of digital assessment

Digital assessment is the online submission of work by students, which is subsequently assessed by teaching staff with opportunities for formal feedback. Assessment provides a way for measuring understanding or attainment against learning outcomes, offering a way for both lecturers and students to judge performance. This makes assessment distinctive from student work.

Online activities, as explored in Section 4 and Section 5 form part of the student learning process and schedule of work (‘Student Work’ in the diagram below), but online assessment has digital approaches as core components of formal submission, marking, feedback or assignment-handling processes.

Circular flow diagram: Student Work, Submit Work, Marking Against Criteria, Feedback, Subsequent Learning and Assessment

Consider where learning technology may enhance an assessment-feedback cycle

For the purposes of the York TEL Handbook, formative assessment refers to tasks which students receive feedback that informs their future work in the module and summative assessment refers to the credit-bearing assignment tasks usually occurring at the end of discrete blocks of study.

Benefits of digital assessment

  • Offers a means for submission of a wider range of content types, including websites, digital artwork and multimedia, as well as documents.
  • Can speed up the process of feedback to students.
  • Provides space for dialogical feedback between students and staff.
  • Work can be submitted remotely and feedback can be received remotely.

Considerations for digital assessment

  • Assignment handling workflows, including who will monitor submissions and process documents for marking.
  • Methods of marking and feedback, and how feedback will be returned to students.
  • Security, integrity and anonymity of submitted work.
  • The format of submitted work, including file types.
  • Technical support requirements for use of assessment tools.

Embedding digital assessment in module sites

The process of assessment submission is similar to online activity design. You will need to provide:

  • An outline of the assessment task, the pedagogical rationale linking to module outcomes and specify components of the assessment.
  • Process-related instructions for submission, including deadline and where to find the submission point.
  • Technical guidance for correct formatting, how to use a specific tool and how to submit.

Some departments have standardised the way formal assessment is handled in all their module sites. Each module site has a specific ‘Assessment’ content area linked from the left menu. Within this content area are links to departmental processes, such as the Exceptional Circumstances for Assessment procedure, a description of the assignment, the tool for submission and a discussion board for posting assignment-related queries.

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