NILE GuidesStaff > Assessments

This list covers the majority of ways in which NILE can be used to support assessment. The types chosen are mainly drawn from Phil Race’s book The Lecturer’s Toolkit, 4th Edition. Choose from the options below and we’ll recommend the best tool.

Essay

In some subjects, assessment is dominated by essay-writing. This has often been the case for a long time, and essays have become a firmly established form of assessment in traditional (and open book) written exams. Essays can provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their own particular ’take’ on a topic and allow for student individuality and expression. Essay writing is also a measure of students’ writing style and can reflect the depth of learning. (Race, 2015, p.64)

We recommend Turnitin because:

  • Similarity reportto help detect plagiarism
  • Quickmarksto help you highlight common mistakes
  • In-line markingto help you pinpoint feedback within a paper
  • Audio or written feedbackto allow you to choose your preferred method
  • Rubrics to help with consistent marking
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Report

Assessed reports make up at least part of the coursework component of many courses. The format, style and nature of an acceptable report varies greatly from one discipline to another, and even from one assessor to another in the same field. The most common kinds of report that many students write are those associated with their practical, laboratory or field work. (Race, 2015, p.72)

We recommend Turnitin because:

  • Similarity reportto help detect plagiarism
  • Quickmarksto help you highlight common mistakes
  • In-line markingto help you pinpoint feedback within a paper
  • Audio or written feedbackto allow you to choose your preferred method
  • Rubrics to help with consistent marking
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Review & Annotated Bibliography

One way of getting students to review a lot of material at once is to ask them to produce annotated bibliographies on a topic area, and to use these as assessment artefacts. Annotated bibliographies can provide a  much better assessed-coursework task than conventional essays. They cannot be used in traditional exams, as candidates would not have the required range of materials available to review, but they can be used in open-book exams where it can be ensured that the required range is provided. (Race, 2015, p.70)

We recommend Turnitin because:

  • Similarity reportto help detect plagiarism
  • Quickmarksto help you highlight common mistakes
  • In-line markingto help you pinpoint feedback within a paper
  • Audio or written feedbackto allow you to choose your preferred method
  • Rubrics to help with consistent marking
Get help

Dissertation & Theses

Students invest a great deal of time and energy in producing dissertations and theses, usually in their final year. students going on to postgraduate study are very likely to need the skills they gain in such work to write longer, more complex dissertations or theses. Dissertations and thesis are usually more individual in nature and contain a review of the literature around the topic. Theses and dissertations are usually double marked and are sometimes part-assessed by a viva-voce. (Race, 2015, p.91)

We recommend Turnitin because:

  • Similarity reportto help detect plagiarism
  • Quickmarksto help you highlight common mistakes
  • In-line markingto help you pinpoint feedback within a paper
  • Audio or written feedbackto allow you to choose your preferred method
  • Rubrics to help with consistent marking
Get help

Project

In many courses, one of the most important kinds of work undertaken by student stakes the form of individual projects, often relating theory to practice beyond the college environment. Such projects are usually an important element in the overall work of each student, and are individual in nature. (Race, 2015, p.86)

We recommend Blackboard because:

  • Multiple files & file types – more than one file and file type can be added to a submission, including files that Turnitin would not accept such as project exports or code.
  • Multimedia submissions – the Kaltura mashup tool allows student to submit their video and audio files.
  • Multiple submissions – a single submission point can accept a number of submissions over a period of time.
  • Group projects – a submission by one group member can be provide both group feedback and individual grades.
  • Rubrics – to help with consistent marking and give feedback on individual components.
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Practical

Many areas of study involve practical work, but it is often much more difficult to assess such work in its own right; assessing reports of practical work may only involve measuring the quality of the end product.. and not the work itself, compromising the validity of the assessment. (Race, 2015, p.75)

We recommend Blackboard because:

  • Multiple files and file types – more than one file and/or file type can be added to a submission.
  • Multimedia submission – the Kaltura mashup tool allows student to submit video and audio files.
  • Group projects – a submission by one group member can be provide both group feedback and individual grades.
  • Attaching feedback/observation – Documents used to capture feedback during presentations  (templates, check lists, etc.) can be attached during grading rather than being re-keyed.
  • Rubrics – to help with consistent marking and give feedback on individual components.
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Portfolio

Typically portfolios are compilations of evidence of achievement, including major pieces of students’ work, feedback comments from tutors, and reflective analyses by the students themselves. Probably the most effective way of leading students to generate portfolios is to build them in as a significant part of a course, attracting commensurate weight in overall assessment. (Race, 2015, p.77)

We recommend MyPad because:

  • Export content – students can take with them after graduation
  • Rich mediaembed images, audio, video and other content
  • Visibilityset to fully private, partially public or fully public
  • Familiarbuilt uses WordPress which many students already know
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Presentation

Giving presentations to an audience requires substantially different skills from writing answers to exam questions. Also, it can be argued that the communications skills involved in giving good presentations are much more relevant to professional competences needed in the world of work. It is increasingly common to have assessed presentation as part of students overall assessment. (Race, 2015, p.80)

We recommend Blackboard with Media Space because:

  • Multimedia – Students can be recorded in real-time to assess their presentation skills
  • Submissions – You can get students to upload their slide-decks to NILE for grading
  • Rubrics- You can grade students video and slides with detailed rubrics
  • Simple recording- Students can be recorded via mobile devices
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Poster

When students are asked to synthesise the outcomes of their learning and/or research into a self-explanatory poster (either individually or in groups), which can be assessed on the spot, it can be an extremely valuable process. The skills involved in producing and presenting a poster can be relevant to many careers and presenting work at conferences or events and can provide opportunities for students to engage in peer-review activity. (Race, 2015, p.88)

We recommend Turnitin because:

  • File types students can submit their posters in any format, to be converted to a PDF
  • Similarity report – You can check the wording for potential plagiarism
  • In-line markingYou can feedback onto the poster itself
  • Rubric – You can grade the poster with a detailed qualitative rubric
  • Audio feedback – You can discuss the merits of the poster
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Multimedia

The ease with which students can create films, audio recordings and photographs, etc., means that multimedia assessment is increasing popular. This is not only because it allows for a wider variety of assessment types, but is also because it encourages students to develop a wider range of transferable skills. Multimedia assessments could include, for example, fiction films, documentaries, presentations, pitches, radio broadcasts, podcasts, audio interviews, oral testimonies and histories, original music recordings, photographs, illustrated books, informative leaflets/pamphlets, posters, graphic designs and architectural drawings. One of the most important considerations when assessing via multimedia is deciding on the balance between the importance of the production quality of the artefact and the importance of the quality of the content.

We recommend Media Space because:

  • Student submissions – Students can create rich media with CaptureSpace
  • File types – Students can upload a variety of media formats
  • Playback You can easily stream and grade multimedia assessments
  • Rubrics You can grade their media with a detailed rubric
  • Easy upload – Students can create and upload via their mobile devices
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Reflective journal

“We do not learn from experience, but from reflecting on experience.” (John Dewey) Reflective writing helps students to link ideas together and discover meanings from the things they see and experience. Their understandings become broader and deeper as they question their approaches to people and circumstances. Like any other skill, reflective writing is one which improves with practice. (Adapted from Bassot, 2013, p.14)

We recommend Blackboard Journal because:

  • MarkingThe journal is gradable
  • Accessible – view via the Mobile Learn app
  • SecureThe posts are within the Blackboard environment
  • Easy-to-useThe tool is similar to the Blackboard Blog tool
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Work-based learning

Increasing use is being made of assessment based on students performance in the workplace, whether on placements, as part of work-based learning programmes or during practical elements of courses. work-based assessments take into account material produced by students in work contexts, rather than simply on the materials they create in the classroom after their placements, these types of assessment allow the tutor to assess competences beyond the formal curriculum and form stronger links between related learning and real world situations. (Race, 2015, p.93)

We recommend Blackboard Journal because:

  • MarkingThe journal is gradable
  • Accessible – view via the Mobile Learn app
  • VisibilityPosts are only visible to the student and their tutor
  • SecureThe posts are within the Blackboard environment
  • Easy-to-useThe tool is similar to the Blackboard Blog tool
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Critical incident account

Critical incident accounts lead students in the direction of structured reflection, where they can link theory and practice.These are particularly used on courses like nursing, education and social work where the students are asked to reflect on their practical and learning experiences whilst on placement, on a field-trip or part of a student portfolio or project work. They can be tailored for particular contexts and can be more or less structured depending on the level of the programme. (Race, 2015, p.95)

We recommend Blackboard Journal because:

  • MarkingThe journal is gradable
  • Accessible – view via the Mobile Learn app
  • VisibilityPosts are only visible to the student and their tutor
  • SecureThe posts are within the Blackboard environment
  • Easy-to-useThe tool is similar to the Blackboard Blog tool
Get help

 

Traditional Exam

Traditional time-constrained exams continue to play a large part of the overall assessment picture in higher education, though often are balanced by the inclusion of practical work, projects and other contributions to the evidence on the basis of which we grade and classify students. (Race, 2015, p.48)

We recommend Blackboard Test because:

  • Marking is done by the computer for most question types and can include pre-prepared feedback
  • Essay questions can be used (with manual marking)
  • Student access can be controlled and time-limited
  • Some ‘anti-cheat’ features can be applied
  • Questions can be random
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Open-book/notes

In many ways, these are similar to traditional exams but with the major difference that students are allowed to take in with them sources of reference material. alternatively, students may be issued with a standard set of resource materials that they can consult during the exam and are informed in advance about what will be available to them so they can prepare. In this type of assessment there is less emphasis on reproducing things, less stress on memory and students retrieval skills can be measured. (Race, 2015, p.58) Similar to open-book exams, this time student are allowed to bring into the examination room any notes they have prepared for the purpose. In other words, we are talking about a situation of ‘legitimised crib-notes’. Your first thought may be that this is all very strange, but in face such exams can work surprisingly well. (Race, 2015, p.59)

We recommend Blackboard Test because:

  • When completed online, the student has flexibility in when they choose to make an attempt
  • Marking is done by the computer for most question types and can include pre-prepared feedback
  • Essay questions can be used (with manual marking)
  • Student access can be controlled and time-limited
  • Some ‘anti-cheat’ features can be applied
Get help

 

Structured & multi-choice

These include multiple-choice exams, and several other types of formats where students are not required to write ‘full’ answers, but are involved in making true/false decisions, or identifying reasons to support assertions, of fill in the blanks, or complete statements, and so on. It is of course possible to design mixed exams, combining free-response traditional questions with structured ones. (Race, 2015, p.61)

We recommend Blackboard Test because:

  • Marking is done by the computer
  • Multiple question types
  • Essay questions can be used (with manual marking)
  • Controlled and time-limited
  • Random selection of questions
Get help

 

Viva/Oral

Viva-voce exams have long been used to add to or consolidate the results of other forms of assessment…they normally take the form of interviews or oral examinations, where students are interrogated about selected parts of work of which they have had assessed in another way. Such exams are often used to make decisions about the classification of degree candidates whose work straddles borderlines. (Race, 2015, p.83)

We recommend Collaborate because:

  • Sessions can be recorded for the reflection and moderation
  • Sessions recorded direct to cloud-server for access
  • Face-to-face interaction is possible
  • Guest access is available for external moderators/assessors
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