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Remote Assessment Considerations

As we switch to remote instruction, it is critical for faculty to consider carefully their assessment strategies. Most faculty have developed a method of assessment and determining grades that  already balances:

  1. Motivating students to complete work that is critical to learning the material;
  2. Assessing how well students have mastered the relevant material and competencies; and
  3. Preventing and identifying academic dishonesty.

However, given the experiences of many faculty and students throughout the spring of 2020, the relative importance of these three aspects of assessment and how they should be approached moving forward is being discussed and re-evaluated. As you consider alternative assessments for Fall 2020, we encourage faculty to discuss emerging assessment strategies and approaches with your colleagues and share creative solutions. Many of the emerging approaches have a natural fit for both in-person and remote teaching. More information on the general philosophy of assessment will be made available in separate communications.

Even without a change in one’s fundamental view of assessment, not all of the assessment methods that work well for in-person courses will work in the remote teaching format. While we anticipate the exact assessment plan will vary from course to course, the goal of this document is to provide examples that we recommend you consider.

Here are some items to keep in mind:

  1. In remote instruction, though synchronous interactions are still incredibly valuable, they do carry a degree of risk, particularly of disadvantaging students who have access issues. Therefore, it is worth determining which elements of your traditional grading scheme are aimed at motivating versus assessing students. This will help design a grading scheme that is appropriately flexible so as to handle technology, time zone, and limited access issues.
  2. As one considers academic integrity, it is useful to evaluate assessment options that are traditionally used, as well as what needs to be changed in a remote environment. For example, paper submissions combined with software such as turnitin.com remain essentially unchanged. However, the proctoring of exams is different. For spring quarter, as we have more time to prepare, issues with the robustness of remote proctoring can be better evaluated.
  3. An additional consideration with academic integrity concerns the development of grading schemes that do not disadvantage honest students relative to their peers who successfully violate academic integrity. Instructors also need to develop flexible ways of computing grades that accommodate the challenges in the remote instructional space of balancing motivation and assessment For example, you might develop two ways of computing grades – “a standard weighting of motivation and assessment” and one focused heavily on “assessment” – and provide students the better of the two grades. Doing so recognizes that the remote environment may have differential impacts on students’ ability to do certain activities, and yet, if they are able to demonstrate their success in the course, they should still be rewarded appropriately.

There are certainly other important questions in this area, so our primary advice is to think carefully about assessment ahead of time, and discuss strategies with your colleagues to minimize student concerns and issues later in the course. As always, DTEI staff is available for support and discussion to potentially identify novel means of assessment that you have not yet considered. Visit http://dtei.uci.edu/ for contact information and help.

Assessment Strategies & Tools

A collection of assessment strategies and links to specific resource

Academic integrity & assessment

Dealing with academic integrity and assessment in a remote environment

Alternate assessment framework

Provides a potential framework for developing alternative assessment strategies for in-class multiple choice/short answer exams.