Rethinking Assessment

9 November 2022

Assessment is an important element of course design and the learning process. Effective assessment provides both a measure of learning as well as a motivation and mechanism for learning.

When you reflect on your course, what do you notice about your assessment? If you experienced any of the following situations in your course, it may be time to rethink elements of your assessment.

  • The moderator queried several elements of the assessment
  • Students queried the assessment requirements before submission
  • Students complained about the amount of work involved
  • Students did not have the skills needed to complete the assessment
  • Students found the assessment difficult to complete online
  • Students did not submit what you expected
  • Marking was difficult or took longer than expected
  • Students queried the marking
  • The assessment hasn’t changed for a while

Assessment should be designed so that it can provide assurance that a student has achieved the course learning outcomes, and thus should align with the knowledge and skills developed in the course. There are a range of assessment types and formats that can be used in a course to assess learning. It is recommended best practice that you include a variety of assessment formats to provide different opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of the course material.

Modifying elements of your course assessment has several benefits, including a better learning experience for your students, less time spent answering student queries, and less time spent marking.

Rethinking assessment may involve the following:

  • Changing the assessment type and/or format
  • Rewriting the instructions
  • Creating an assessment walk-through video
  • Developing or redesigning the marking rubric
  • Changing the assessment weighting
  • Changing the number of assessments
  • Changing the timing of assessments
  • Teaching students the skills needed to complete the assessment
  • Reorganising course content
  • Modifying the course learning outcomes

To get started, have a look at our Assessment page, review past Assessment-related Teaching Quality Workshops, come along to the Teaching Quality Workshop on Rethinking Assessment (book your place here), or make an appointment for an individual consultation with a member of the Teaching Quality team (email: