Assessment Strategies

With the current issues being faced by the Covid-19 outbreak and potential closure of the institution, the impact on assessments for the remainder of the regular term and final exams is one of significant concern. A closure of the institution would render the Test Centre unavailable – and for a large majority of our student population, this is how/where they complete their exams.  

Additionally, students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms linked to this disease are being told to self-isolate, not attend classes or exams, and to self-report their absence. Similarly, students who have weakened immune systems or other conditions or situations that would put them or their families at increased risk if exposed to the possibility of COVID-19 will also be able to self-report their absence. In each case, this is in lieu of providing supporting medical documentation and the absence will be automatically approved in light of the extraordinary circumstances.  Please anticipate that although everything is being done to minimize the potential impact of the pandemic at the University:

  • You might be faced with significant numbers of students missing class, including  tests and assignment deadlines and final exams, and a subset who might become more seriously ill;
  • As much as possible, you should plan in advance how to help students catch up and how to handle missed assignments/tests and final exams, or how to manage graduate defenses;
  • If large numbers of students are affected as the term comes to a close, you may need to be flexible. e.g. rather than simply extending the deadline or the exam date, you might want to consider alternate assignments, or simply pro-rating graded materials or allowing students to reallocate marks across assignments/projects/tests/exams in consultation with the Dean’s office and on a case-by-case basis.

This document is designed to identify a few different methods for dealing with the closure of the Test Centre and the inability to give face-to-face exams to your students. Regardless of which of the following options are to be employed, it is important to communicate these changes to the students impacted. The following are some assessment options: 

 

Modifying Exams for Online Delivery

Repurposing current exams to an online format might work for you and your course material. Exams that are currently in Moodle can easily be configured to allow for students to take them from home – but there is no invigilation of that exam. For this to work effectively, a few things need to be taken into consideration: 

  1. Understand that resources are available to students (in a variety of formats) - their textbook, their notes, the internet... This means that recall and knowledge level questions become quite easy as the answers are often available quickly and easily. 
  2. With knowledge level questions becoming simply a matter of looking the answer up, consider a move to application or synthesis level questions. Synthesis questions are those that push the students beyond simply recalling or looking up facts to asking them to apply that information to situations or cases to demonstrate their understanding. To minimize read-as-you-go test-taking, reduce the amount of time students have to take the test so that only those students familiar with the material can answer the questions in the time allotted. Alternatively, replace selected response tests (such as multiple choice and T/F) with short-answer or essay questions that require students to apply textbook facts to novel scenarios. Keep in mind that these types of questions take longer to complete!
  3. Time limits can be used to reduce the amount of time that students can take to simply look-up the answers. While time limits can not be set for each question individually, a time-limit for the exam can be set in the exam settings. The Teaching Centre can help with the configuration of your assessments. You can contact them at teachingsupport@uleth.ca.
  4. Help students prepare for a take-home or take-at-home exam. Exam preparation is different for this type of exam experience. Depending on the nature of your exam, it might be beneficial for students to have their notes and class readings laid out in an organized manner prior to the exam. Review of key concepts and learnings will also allow them to focus on the questions that they need to answer rather than spending their time reviewing and locating resources during the test writing time.
  5. All Faculty will receive formal letters from the Accommodated Learning Centre (ALC) for any students who have accommodations. Please ensure that you have these letters in order and consider the variety of accommodations that you have in your class when preparing your assessments. 

Toolbox on assessment that speaks to AI and online
 https://openeducationalberta.ca/fitfol/chapter/tool-box-academic-integrity-online-assessments/

Alternative Online Assessments
https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/teaching-continuity/student-assessment-ideas

Academic Integrity and Online Learning
https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/academic-integrity-online-learning

Dr. Kristie Dukewich on Encouraging Academic Integrity
https://kputlcommons.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/43000564861--video-academic-integrity-strategies

Academic Integrity

What can you do as an instructor to encourage your students to do honest work? There are many reasons cited by students when they are asked why they cheated, plagiarized or collaborated dishonestly. Some of the most common reasons can be instructive regarding what faculty members and teaching assistants can do to discourage dishonest behaviour and encourage academic integrity in their courses.

Learn more

Toolbox on assessment that speaks to AI and online
 https://openeducationalberta.ca/fitfol/chapter/tool-box-academic-integrity-online-assessments/

Accomodations

Thank you for your continued support of our students with disabilities. As we move to alternate models of teaching and learning, we are engaged in planning to ensure that you are supported in accommodating your students.

Our work is guided by legislation and the requirement to provide accommodation up to the point of undue hardship; even during these exceptional times. To make the alternate mode of teaching and learning experience positive for all students, there are some adjustments that will not only accommodate students with disabilities but will benefit all students.  

If any of the students in your class (es) are registered this semester with the Accommodated Learning Centre (ALC), you would have received a Letter of Accommodations detailing the accommodations they require.  If you have not received such a letter for students who are now requesting accommodations, they have either chosen not to register or have not activated accommodations this semester. If a student approaches you requesting accommodations, and you have not received an accommodation letter from the ALC to support this request, ask the student to contact the ALC.  Please reference your letters to ensure that accommodation needs are met.  However, if you are unable to locate your accommodation letter, please contact the ALC. The ALC and Teaching Centre continue to work together to develop strategies on how to provide accommodations to your students in an alternate mode of teaching and learning.

Please review the following information to ensure that students who require accommodations are effectively supported in an on-line environment:

  1. Extra Time (x 1.5 or x 2) for all evaluative components is determined by the student’s medical documentation (and will be identified, if required, on the student’s Letter of Accommodation). This will apply to on-line content as well. If you are offering alternate forms of evaluation like assignments or presentations, extended time would also apply in these instances.  With looming deadlines, we recommend you work backward and shorten timelines so that you have room for the extensions.
  2. Adding time extensions for exams and/or quizzes in Moodle will require that you individually extend time for each student according to their accommodation.  If you are working with the Teaching Centre to set up a quiz and/or exam, their staff can assist you with this.  Please advise the Teaching Centre as to any students who require additional time as per their Accommodation Letter.  In this new environment the ALC is unable to set up accommodations for exams and must rely on instructors to arrange extensions.
  3. Accommodated students will require recordings and/or transcripts of video and audio lectures so that they can be successful in an on-line environment.  We may later add captioning.  Fortunately, many platforms have settings to do this automatically, including Zoom, and require minimal work for the user. See: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004794983-Automatically-Transcribe-Cloud-Recordings-
  4. Text to Speech (Kurzweil) - Students who have the web-based version will require internet access without a locked browser.  Please provide access to course materials ahead of class and convert documents to PDF format to ensure compatibility with Kurzweil.
  5. Speech to Text (Dragon) or a compatible voice to text program/app – Apple products are excellent.
  6. Students may require other accommodations like spell check, grammar check, calculators, or magnification capability.


Exam Booking

The Accommodated Learning Centre would like you to be aware of the following few as we come to the end of the semester. 

  1. ALC has turned on the software program they use, ClockWork, for students to book their exams. 
  2. ClockWork has a 7-day booking deadline, so as of March 30th, students are able to book any exams from April 2nd onwards (this includes final exams). 
  3. ALC would like to allow students to get back to their usual routine of booking exams in advance and have emailed their contact list with the information above.

We welcome opportunities to discuss how we can work together to support student success.  Please do not hesitate to reach out the Teaching Center or the Accommodated Learning Centre staff if you have questions or concerns. 

Accommodated Exams in Moodle

  • When delivering a Moodle Quiz as an open book exam, you as the instructor will be able to set up overrides for students. Learn how.

Online Exams

Alternative Online Assessments
https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/teaching-continuity/student-assessment-ideas

Moodle Answers Exams and Quizzes Tutorials
https://moodleanswers.com/index.php/exams-and-quizzes

Remote Invigilation of Exams

There are several commercial solutions for providing remote invigilation of exams to students. The University is currently looking into a few of these. If a solution is put in place, this section will be updated with information on how to access this service and the implications of its use with your students. 

Determining the best time frames for multiple choice exams

It is difficult to advise on how many questions to present on any given exam and how much time to allow for exam completion. Here are a few things to consider to help guide your planning.

  • Consider the difficulty of your questions. Some questions will require more time than others; simple recall questions for example may require less time. 
  • Consider using Universal Design for Learning (UDL); some students may need more time than others to answer the same question. Slow readers for example should not be penalized.
  • Consider having a colleague take the test; log the times to help determine the testing time.
  • At the university level, 60-90 seconds are generally allotted for multiple-choice questions. 

References

Snow, H., Monk, A., & Thompson, P. (1996) Guidelines for the use of multiple-choice and computer presented tests for university assessment. Psychology Software News, 7, p. 4-8. Retrieved from https://www-users.york.ac.uk/~am1/HowtoMC.PDF

Crowdmark

The University of Lethbridge has secured access to a product called Crowdmark. This tool has a number of features that streamline marking but one of the main features is the ability to have students submit scanned work or to take pictures of their work easily.

Thank you to Sean Fitzpatrick for these resources

Resources from Crowdmark

Crowdmark has some great resources on their site, below are a few that may help you get started.

Final Presentation/Projects

If you are currently engaging your class in final presentations or projects, there are a number of adaptations that can be made to still allow for these. Some of these might be:

  • students record an audio track as part of their PowerPoint presentation and submit that (tutorial can be found here to help with this)
  • groups can be modified to individual presentations (to support social distancing)
  • students can be encouraged to meet virtually to work on their presentations (via Zoom or Google Hangouts)
  • students can present to the class via Zoom (which has been secured for Faculty). Students would be able to present and share their projects/presentations from their cell phones, tablets or personal computers from anywhere. Faculty can access Zoom for their class by logging into https://uleth.zoom.us and clicking on the Sign In button. You can then authenticate with your U of L credentials. 
  • An alternative to this is to have students record their final presentations as YouTube videos and share with you for grading. Many students can do this from their cell phones. 
  • students can submit the presentation and work product rather than the final presentation

Again, consider the accommodations that your students might have when considering timelines and the components involved in completing an assignment like this.

Group Work

With the transition to out-of-class work and in many cases an inability for students to meet to work on projects, it is important to allow for more time for students to complete group work. You might want to look at converting group assignments to individual ones (and changing the nature of what each student is expected to complete now). Creating Discussion forums in Moodle can help students communicate/collaborate and can allow you to assist when needed in that conversation. Zoom and Google Hangouts can also be used to help support students working together (without having them physically meet) but again, for students without familiarity or access to technology, this can be a barrier to their success/completion.

Participation Marks

Many of our classes have participation marks that students are awarded based upon engagement in classroom discussions, asking questions, working with groups (and many other variations). Consider how these marks might be applied to your new form of delivery:

  • possibly asking you questions based on material that you are sending out to the class)
  • participation in online discussions in Moodle
  • assisting other students to work through the material or even to access the material
  • helping you to engage the class. 

Grading Students Based on Work Completed

Depending on what remains to be covered in your course (and the nature of your class), it might not be possible to continue covering the material (in the case of a lab or studio class). In these cases, it might be appropriate to award a grade based on the work that had been completed to date. In these cases, this is something that should be discussed with your Department Chair and/or Dean to ensure that everyone is aware of the implications and supportive of this decision.  

Other Options to Consider

Transitioning from a final test/quiz to an assignment involving a critical reflection or other form of summary learning activity. Keep in mind, that these activities take considerably more time for students to complete and for Faculty to grade. 

Provide choices for students. Some may prefer to write a paper/complete a project (in order to increase their current grade), while others might prefer to keep the grade that they have. 

 

Have Questions – We Are Here to Help

The Teaching Centre is here to help you. While our resources are limited, if possible we will be happy to help answer questions, provide feedback and offer suggestions for how to create your assessment.  

Send a help reuest to teachingsupport@uleth.ca 

References

http://otl.du.edu/moving-your-final-exams-online/ 

https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/7-assessment-challenges-of-moving-your-course-online-solutions/