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2. Assessment and exam

How will you measure that the students have learned what you want?

After you have specified the learning outcomes as part of the planning stage, you need to make a plan for how to assess if the students have achieved the intended outcomes. The assessments can take place both during the semester, for example through written assignments or multiple-choice tests, as well as an exam at the end of the semester.

In general, it is common to distinguish between formative and summative assessment:

Formative assessment

Formative assessment takes place during the course of the teaching, and the goal is to support the students' academic development, for example by providing feedback on assignments, calculations, lab reports or oral presentations. Formative assessment is primarily used without grading.

The strength of formative assessment is that it provides a direction for the student's learning process. Students will have the opportunity to discover what they have learned and what they need to learn in the future, and they will gain increased awareness of their own learning.

Formative assessment can also provide you as a teacher with useful information about students' academic development, and the extent to which your course plan works according to your intention.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment typically takes place after the end of the course, and provides a summary of what the students have learned. Exams are graded A-F or pass/fail.

There are a number of options for choosing the form of the exam, and the key is to choose the form that best allows students to demonstrate the degree to which they have reached the learning outcomes for the course. Different variants of written, oral or practical exams can be used individually, or in collaboration. It is more and more common to use home exams, portfolio assessment, oral exams and project work as exam forms.

It is possible to use the learning outcomes for the course to distinguish between different students' learning outcomes and to support grading.

Example linking learning outcomes to assessment forms

The example below shows the interaction between learning outcomes and different forms of assessment.

In discussions, students have the opportunity to work with all the learning goals along the way, and can use formative feedback from fellow students and educators to advance in the learning process. The oral exam tests all four learning goals and thus the entire learning outcome.

Learning outcomes:

  • After completing the course, students should be familiar with the major theories of learning

Learning objectives:

  • Students should be able to describe the five most important theories of learning
  • Students should be able to identify learning theories from texts and examples
  • Students should be able to discuss learning theories in the context of digital teaching
  • Students should be able to reflect on their own learning process

Formative assessment (with feedback from teacher or group):

  • "Discuss how different learning theories can be used to argue the value of learning environments in higher education."
  • "Use examples from your own practice to discuss how group size affects learning in digital teaching."

Summative assessment (oral examination):

  • “Present a 2-week course for a group of 30 students where half of the learning sessions take place in a classroom and half take place digitally. You can choose learning goals and activities in the teaching yourself. Use learning theories and lessons learned from the practice period to argue your choices. "

Questions for planning:

  • In what ways do students get learning-promoting feedback along the way?
  • How can you use the specific learning objectives to formulate exam questions or to clarify the objectives of a submission?
  • Can you use reflection notes to give students training in describing and reflecting on their own skills?
  • Can the learning outcomes descriptions be used as part of an assessment guide or otherwise support the work of grading students' answers at an exam?

Further reading:

Published June 10, 2020 1:56 PM - Last modified Jan. 17, 2022 12:59 PM