Assessment Issues in Online Learning

performance-testI have been working all day on issues around assessment for my doctoral course of study (the one I am taking, this time!). It is amazing how some issues that seem so straight-forward at first are really very complicated and involved.

One of my colleagues recommended this current article from Sue Bloxham: Marking and moderation in the UK: False assumptions and wasted resources, (Bloxham, S. (2009). Marking and moderation in the UK: False assumptions and wasted resources. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(2), 209 – 220) which I read with great interest. With issues around teacher / learner power, whether we can assess if learning is done at all, how issues meant for the natural sciences is problemativ when applied to the social sciences, and how (if?) to objectively measure students in a consistent manner, she gave me a lot to think about. I think the author ended her work in a significant way for those of us considering assessment in the social sciences:

at heart this is an epistemological issue; how is the knowledge of what is a good exam answer,  essay, project or piece created? It is created through a social process involving dialogue and experience and using artefacts such as assignment guidance and assessment criteria but, in essence, it remains essentially an individual construct, heavily influenced by traditions in the subject discipline (p. 218).

Now, what to do with this for my own online class?!

3 thoughts on “Assessment Issues in Online Learning

  1. Have you considered the assessment discussion going on, that makes a distinction between assessment OF learning and assessment FOR learning? For instance, it is possibly the main topic in everything written by Paul Black, Dylan Wiliam, and Helen Timperley? Some articles, for instance one by Black/Wiliams, about the Black Box, is quite interesting when it comes to this aspect of assessment – and to mention a little more, it is also discussing the difference between feedback and feed forward. Important issues to consider in the teaching profession.

    1. I am not familiar with any of these authors, Vigdis–thank you for bringing them up!

      Our module is currently focusing on the differences between, and approaches to, formative / summative / sustainable assessments for lifelong learning. The work of Boud (2000) started out our discussions which then led to McConnell and Sclater.


    2. Vigdis-

      I neglected to ask — can you speak a little more about the distinctions between feedback and feed forward? I am not familiar with the latter.

      Thank you.


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