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Quality assessment is a critical part of any course. Creating the right assessments can be challenging. Questions regarding authenticity, timing, and number of assessments continue to be part of an ongoing dialogue within higher education (Gikandi, 2011; Villarroel et al. 2018). A good individual assessment balances student and faculty effort, academic integrity, and learning outcomes.  

In this resource, we provide a variety of tools and strategies addressing good assessment design. Resources are divided into four categories of best practice: exams, papers, creative assessments, and creative grading alternatives.  

We will highlight examples from different universities AND would love to include examples from UVU faculty who are engaging in these alternative grading strategies. Reach out to Seth Gurell if you would like to share your examples or are interested in implementing any of these practices. 

Gikandi, J. W., Morrow, D., & Davis, N. E. (2011). Online formative assessment in higher education: A review of the literature. Computers & education, 57(4), 2333-2351.  

Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S., Bruna, D., Bruna, C., & Herrera-Seda, C. (2018). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(5), 840-854.  

Exam Best Practices

There are several simple strategies to mitigate cheating in online exams from how you craft your questions to monitoring test taking. The Office of Teaching and Learning encourages the use of Proctorio testing software to record and archive testing sessions when using high-stakes exams. Quiz settings in Canvas also offer a variety of ways to control the testing experience and promote academic honesty. This section will include instructions on using Proctorio and Canvas tools, as well as provide guidance on developing strong test questions.

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Paper Best Practices

One good alternative to a final exam can be the final paper, especially in upper division courses. Students have the opportunity to synthesize and personalize the concepts they have covered during the semester. The key to encouraging students to submit original work is in how you structure the assignment. If students are asked to use personal experiences and examples, synthesize ideas to address real-world problems, and explore meaning of concepts in a variety of situations, there is less opportunity for cheating and a richer learning experience.

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Creative Assessment Alternatives

The more “non-traditional” or “authentic” assessments are, the more likely students are to submit original work. These types of assessments are those that allow a student to demonstrate their understanding of a concept in ways other than traditional tests or papers. The range of possibilities for this type of assessment helps provide students with the opportunity to use their own unique skill sets to demonstrate mastery. When a student is asked to submit a creative assessment, it is more difficult for them to “borrow” from another source and pass it off as their own work.

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Creative Grading Alternatives

Have you ever considered a non-traditional approach to grading that involves your students? Students are more invested in their learning when given explicit choice and accountability. We have students from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Offering creative grading alternatives encourages students to come as they are, reinforcing ourExceptional CareValue:UVU has a place for themto grow and succeed.  

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