Designing Effective Assessment


2. Appropriate


The type of assessment used must be suitable for "what" it is that is being assessed i.e. fit for purpose. It would not be appropriate for example, to assess a dental student's ability to fill a tooth cavity, via a multiple choice or written examination. Such traditional written examinations and assessments may effectively measure a student's knowledge about a skill, and even their knowledge and understanding of how that skill can be applied. It will not capture the student's ability to actually "do" the skill. For this to be effectively measured, assessment needs to be designed in such a way that the student can demonstrate their ability to do or perform the skill. This can be likened to learning the skill of riding a bike... it's not sufficient to have a person describe how to ride a bike, if they cannot actually do it.

Thus, the assessment method chosen must be appropriate for the desired learning outcomes being assessed.

Furthermore, assessment tasks must be appropriate to the stage or level of the course within the program. Students must first have the foundational knowledge and skills within an area, prior to being able to apply that knowledge or use it in other ways. Assessment tasks early in a program are more likely to focus on recall of information; whereas it is reasonable to expect students further in their program to competently complete assessment tasks that require higher levels of cognitive application (i.e. analysing, evaluating, comparing, and judging).

The primary purpose of the assessment is also an important consideration when designing appropriate tasks. Is the assessment intended to be formative or summative? For example, a formative assessment where you want students to attempt and practice something new , needs to be a low weight, low risk assessment for learning. It would not be appropriate (or fair) for such a task to count heavily towards a final grade. To be purely formative, no marks are awarded - but, the formative task relates directly to an assessment where marks are awarded.

Appropriate assessment is suitable for the type (fit-for-purpose) and the level of learning being assessed.