6.3.4 Formative work – tests and adaptive release

Tests and adaptive release

Key Concept: Online quizzes allow students to self-check their knowledge and provide lecturers an indicator of current understanding of core themes.

Some forms of formative work may be assessed automatically, using the Test tool within the Yorkshare VLE. This tool can be used to create quizzes or other forms of question-answer task, providing students the opportunity to:

  • Check their memorisation of key facts.
  • Test their understanding of concepts.
  • Apply new knowledge to case studies and problems (supported by a range of question types).
  • Complete mathematical problems (with the calculated numeric and calculated formula question type)
  • Practice writing within a structured framework (with the essay question type).

Results from online tests can also inform your teaching as you can tailor subsequent material to the knowledge gaps and misconceptions shown through students’ answers.

Types of questions

Whilst a common use of the Test tool is to create multiple-choice quizzes, these should not be restricted to just memory-recall questions. Multiple-choice questions can also be used to ask students to apply their knowledge to a case study. The advantage of using multiple-choice questions over open-text responses is the scope for automated feedback.

You can also use short-text and essay responses which allow students to write longer text-based responses to answer questions. These require manual marking. This approach may suit an activity that structures students writing, for example asking them to address specific parts of a longer piece of writing within separate questions that lead on from each other.

Question pools can be used to collate questions addressing the same learning objective, with a random selection presented to the student. For example, you may have 10 questions on Topic A and 10 questions on Topic B in a two separate question pools. When creating a Yorkshare Quiz, you could require three questions to be randomly selected from Topic A and two questions to be randomly selected from Topic B. Although the questions shown will differ on each attempt and by each student, you would still be assessing whether students achieved the same learning outcomes.

Guide to Yorkshare Quiz

Online intervention walk-through

E-Learning Walkthrough

Online tests

Online tests
Tests can provide a means for students to self-assess their own knowledge/progress as well as provide you with an indication, both individually and as a cohort, of how well students understand the key themes of your module.

Forms of feedback

Feedback can be provided automatically on a per-question basis within a Yorkshare Quiz. Two pieces of feedback can be added to a question: one if the student gets the answer right, another if the student gets the answer wrong. However, feedback can not be tailored to specific answers, only whether the answer was correct or incorrect.

Feedback on Yorkshare Quiz answers may take one or more of these forms:

  • Simple correct/incorrect indicator.
  • Explanation of why an answer was correct/incorrect. This can help a student understand the reasoning behind the answer, as equally important for correct answers as incorrect answers.
  • Direction to resources and readings which provide the correct answer.
  • Suggestions for further reading.

Bear in mind the purpose of your formative task and choose the form of feedback that would enable a student to take what they have learnt into subsequent activities.

Adaptive release

Adaptive release can be used to make available additional content on Yorkshare and subsequent learning tasks dependent upon individual students’ performance or participation. Adaptive release can be set for individual students, groups or automatically based upon:

  • Date and time.
  • Submission of work to a Standard Assignment.
  • Posting on a Yorkshare Blog, Journal or Discussion Board (the act of posting, rather than the content of the post is the trigger for adaptive release).
  • Contributing to a Yorkshare Wiki (the act of posting and/or the proportion of contribution can be used).
  • Mark achieved in a Yorkshare Test/Quiz (set this to be ‘highest grade’ rather than ‘last attempt’ where students may take a quiz multiple times).

As an example, adaptive release could be used to make model answers available after a student submits a short essay. You will still need to provide a mechanism to support students in understanding the differences between the model answer and their own work. This may be a video talking through the model answer or face-to-face office hours.

Guide to adaptive release