Creating assessments which prevent plagiarism and collusion between students/learners is challenging. The nature of most assessments means they are very static in nature and require a written response, which leads to a need to ensure consistency in marking. The solution to this has historically been to use alternatives such as multiple choice questions (MCQs) to maintain a delicate balance between time needed to mark and moderate, versus ensuring the learning objectives are being fully assessed.

Unfortunately MCQs come with a second set of problems: unless well formulated they can be too easy for anything other than first-years, or excessive quantities of questions are required to present a ‘randomness’ that can’t easily be copied… except we realise most of the time it can, and students submitting MCQs to online question banks is becoming more of an issue. Creating authentic, robust assessments without disproportionate time commitment is becoming harder.

What is an authentic, robust assessment though?

‘Robust assessment’ really means 3 things:

  • That the student can demonstrate capability in meeting the learning objectives
  • It is hard for students to cheat or collude, accidentally or intentionally, during the assessment
  • The student can apply the knowledge, not just recite it

More often than not, meeting those 3 things means significantly more time and effort, both to design and create assessments, and in marking/moderating.

One option is to perform a viva – knowledge can be validated and application tested, but it is impractical with large cohorts. Lab-based or scene-based assessments are also good, but similarly allowing students time or access to prepare when dealing with large cohorts is a logistical nightmare.

Another option is individualised assessments (good for student enthusiasm), but it’s tricky to ensure parity (even within a ‘bank’ of MCQs), leading to post-assessment queries, potential complaints or other noise.

Great! So it’s not possible to create robust assessments and continue to keep the time effort in check? … yes it is, but it’s time to look at a new approach.

There are 5 tips that we give out during Resimion training aimed at creating robust assessments that answer this problem:

  1. Get student involved in design of the assessment! Or better yet, let the design of the assessment actually be the assessment. Letting students design scenarios and problems, demonstrating the learning objective, doesn’t just force students to apply knowledge, but it also allows students to teach others through the scenario or problem that they have designed.
  2. Test application of knowledge, not recall: by allowing students to work through problems and processes, or more complex scenarios, the practice or assessment becomes more authentic. The famous NTL Learning Pyramid illustrates the point well. This is why Resimion works particularly well for lab processes, analysis and problems or scenarios for students to work through.
  3. Little and often assessments may give more opportunity for feedback and applying learning. Schedule a weekly problem, case study, scenario or quiz – but importantly, let the system manage the process of sending peer reminders, monitor engagement week-to-week, and sending the automated individual feedback to students.
  4. Aim to engage students, so that they are motivated to complete the assignment, and appreciate the benefits to their learning. Competitive or gamified assessments work well for this – particularly practising time-based or team-based scenarios or case studies in the lead up to a formal assessment.
  5. Get students to see assessments as opportunities, rather than hurdles. If students see that testing their own knowledge and skills on a regular basis throughout the module or programme helps them understand their own progress, they are more likely to engage with and accept assessments as part of the course.

That is all great, but what about the collusion aspect? How do you validate student identity?

By integrating student video, audio or images in the process – for example the student recording a video using Resimion’s built in recorder to explain a crime scene or lab process, or taking images of surroundings unique to the student – you can verify student identity actually building it into the scenario or problem process. You could even allow students to upload or record an entire video-based assessment, using all the marking greatness of the Resimion grade centre.

Want to see it for real rather than just read all the words? Schedule a quick 20 minute walkthrough by contacting us here.


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