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Managing summative assessment of student learning in online programmes

If you have online, interactive courses, how do you manage summative assessment of student learning? Lynette Steel describes two courses - Diploma in Conveyancing, and the Graduate Certificate in NZ Immigration Advice. They are both based in Moodle, supported by Adobe Connect sessions. Students are based in New Zealand as well as in other parts of the world.

The final exam, Lynette shares, were still sent out by paper and completed by the student in a physical venue. Currently formative assessment can be done in the online space, as can some of the summative assessment.

Critical challenges around the final exam included:

  • Imposed requirements

  • Exam venue

  • Identity validation

  • Environment control / security

  • Exam design

  • Cost


Alternative options include using a venue where students use a suite of computers, or can use their own computer. There is software that can be used to check the ID, and monitors the student as they work through the exam. The design of exams is important (in part as a way of maximising authentic responses), as is the submission of the exam immediately. Computer security is an issue, but there are software options available. On a more practical front, timing is a challenge for students who are overseas.

Image: Measuring tape. CC ( BY NC ) licensed Flick image by Ben Watkin: https://flic.kr/p/5MbgMi

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