Assessment Strategies

Light bulb over a chalkboard

Assess Often

To effectively measure student learning in an online course, assessments need to be varied, frequent, and of multiple types.

Assessments should be aligned to the outcomes of the learning material being assessed. Assessment activities need to be clearly defined and accompanied by examples of the expected quality of work. Visit the Course Mapping page for resources to help with alignment.

Formative + Summative

A combination of formative and summative assessment integrated into the course helps the instructor identify and address student misconceptions immediately, measure learner performance, and improve the course through student feedback.

Some ideas:

  • Use anonymous surveys to gather feedback from students throughout the course (beginning, mid-semester, end).
  • Integrate self (e.g. practice tests) and peer assessment exercises.
  • Assign reflection papers around key milestones.
  • Assign group projects and presentations.

Use Rubrics

In Blackboard you can create digital scoring tools you can use to evaluate graded work. When you allow students access to rubrics before they complete their work, you provide transparency into your grading methods and help students complete graded assignments according to your specifications. Most Blackboard tools allow you the ability to include a pre-formatted, customizable, and reusable rubric.

Tips & Tricks
  • Treat discussion boards, journals, and blogs as you would “classroom participation” and make them required and gradable.
  • Award badges using the Achievements tool in Blackboard to motivate students and define levels of competencies.
  • Use the Retention Center in Blackboard to help you discover which students in your course are at risk. Based on default rules and rules you create, students' engagement and participation are visually displayed, quickly alerting you to potential risk. From the Retention Center, you can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.


Summative Assessment

High stakes graded activities done at various milestones in the course (mid term, final, etc.).

Formative assessment

Frequent and low stakes activities with instructor feedback that allow students to check their performance and identify areas for improvement.

All Glossary Terms