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Sharing Online Assessment Practices: Case Studies

Sharing Online Assessment Practices: Case Studies

The Sharing Online Assessment Project (SOAP) is an initiative of the Assessment Framework Working Group (AFWG). The project aims to establish a collection of assessment practices that was offered in Term 2 of the Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) period. The reasons for doing so are to:

  • Collect examples of practices that were considered to reflect sound practice (or even better than practice under “normal” circumstances) to inspired enhanced assessment practice for future assessment guidance at UCT

  • Share and reflect on examples where assessment did not work as planned or resulted in questions about soundness of results to stimulate reflection to enhance future practice

  • Develop an understanding of the ecosystem of (online) assessment practices at UCT

  • Deepen the analysis of student performance in Term 2 through qualitative insights

To this end, 23 case studies were collected across six faculties. The case studies were collected through a survey via AFWG representations with follow-up interviews conducted by CILT staff between September 2020 and January 2021. The case studies were analysed and categorised into four assessment purposes or intentions.

Mitigation

MITIGATION STRATEGIES

These case studies focused on maintaining integrity. The strategies employed involved expanding question pools, modes and types of assessment to reduce opportunities for collusion.
Transforming

TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT

These case studies focused on redesign. The strategies employed involved redesigning and fundamentally changing the assessments. The new assessments may be kept as better practice.
Expanding

EXPANDING/ENHANCING/ADAPTING

These case studies focused on enhancing. The strategies employed involved making small changes to existing practices.
Holding pattern

HOLDING PATTERN/DIFFICULTIES

These case studies focus on surviving in the ERT period. The case studies highlighted struggles with online assessment.

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Case Study 1: EDN4501 - Education Technology
Postgraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: The practices around and leading up to the final assessment were adapted to incorporate smaller pieces of work for formative purposes, and to facilitate more communal and collaborative engagement between students.

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Case Study 2: EDN4501 - EGS4047F - Environmental Policy and Practice
Postgraduate, Science

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: The course shifted from being based on a site-based case study, where students were going to do field work, to being a series of lectures about the site hosted via Zoom. City officials joined as guest lecturers. The open-book exam became a 48-hour take home exam, which was a more accurate way of assessing the applied skills relevant to the course.

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Case Study 3: STA1000F - Introductory Statistics
Undergraduate, Science

Assessment category: Mitigation strategies

Summary: Vula Tests and Quizzes were used with students completing MCQ assessments remotely. To mitigate against collusion and students finding answers online, question pools were used and novel questions were developed. An open-book format was adopted and students were given a lot more time and fewer questions to answer.

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Case Study 4: HUB3006F - Applied Physiology
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Mitigation strategies

Summary: The exams were changed from 50% to all multiple choice questions using Vula's linear, timed mode for multiple choice extended matching question types.

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Case Study 5: AGE3011F - Roots of Black Identity
Undergraduate, Science

Assessment category: Mitigation strategies

Summary: The assessment remained much the same, except students were given more time, and exam essay questions were circulated prior to the exam.

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Case Study 6: FIN1005W - Fine Art Foundation
Undergraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Transforming Assessment

Summary: A new form of assessment was designed to get students re-engaged and into a practice of responding. Students were given themed provocations to discuss in groups using Vula chat rooms, which then formed the basis of a collective written response, summary and report.

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Case Study 7: LIS4053W - PGDip in Library and Information Science
Postgraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Mitigation Strategy

Summary: Online quizzes were implemented to ensure students were reading the assigned material. Relying on the system to mark the quizzes didn’t work for short-answer and essay-type questions, and students needed more time to complete the quiz.

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Case Study 8: LIS5032F - LIS Leadership and Management
Postgraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: Web blogs about contextually relevant topics were used as a tool for reflective thinking and peer learning.

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Case Study 9: LIS5025F - Principles of Digital Curation
Postgraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Transforming Assessment

Summary: Downloadable file corruption software was used to conduct a data decay experiment whereby students had to make and record empirical observations in a lab notebook which was submitted for assessment.

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Case Study 10: INF3012S - BPM & Enterprise Systems
Undergraduate, Commerce

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: The course uses MS Teams to provide groups of students experiences of managing an applied process redesign project. The entire course moved to a virtual platform using a very structured weekly schedule made available on Vula from the start.

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Case Study 11: APG2041S - Applied Surveying & GISC
Undergraduate, Engineering and the Built Environment

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: Created simulated data as a substitute for surveying practicals that required students to analyse and report on this project.

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Case Study 12: MUZ1397H - Foundation Practical Studies - Trombone
Undergraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Holding pattern/Difficulties

Summary: Assessments were not as effective and required more time as well as equipment in ERT. We tried to keep things as normal as possible, but used video recordings instead of live performances. Using Vula was helpful, but live assessments are preferable.

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Case Study 13: SLL1061S - Initial French IB
Undergraduate, Humanities

Assessment category: Mitigation strategies

Summary: Developed weekly quizzes to test translations between French and English that were adapted as timed Vula Tests and Quizzes, with a time limit to reduce (to some extent) students' ability to make use of online translation tools.

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Case Study 14: CHE4067 - Heterogeneous Catalysis
Honours, Engineering and the Built Environment

Assessment category: Mitigation strategies

Summary: Prior to ERT, students practiced problems and answers in tutorials and had written class tests and exams. All assessments were moved online using MCQ and open questions where students would enter value numbers. Integrity was a concern. In future, we will build up question pools for the MCQs.

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Case Study 15: PPH4056W - Health in Context
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Holding pattern/Difficulties

Summary: Time constraints, COVID restrictions and students’ unequal internet access required multiple changes to the assessment formats, weighting and administration. The major changes were that the group research project became an individual critical appraisal assignment, the final exam fell away, and an oral assessment was introduced.

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Case Study 16: PTY6012W - Forensic Medicine
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing or adapting

Summary: The assessment tasks and end-of-block exam were moved online and redesigned to include well-crafted questions that covered a broader range of topics, and could be marked electronically. ERT provided the opportunity to improve the assessment practices which will be used going forward.

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Case Study 17: PD4016W - Neonatology
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Holding pattern/Difficulties

Summary: The course was overhauled prior to ERT. One aspect of assessment affected during COVID was the in-course ward rounds and patient-bedside cases. These were replaced by paper-based cases focusing on four core pathologies commonly seen in neonatology.

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Case Study 18: PRY6000W - Psychiatry and Mental Health
Postgraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Holding pattern/Difficulties

Summary: Students weren’t able to see clinical patients for their ward assessments and portfolio, so they were given paper cases studies to work through and asked to interview people in their lives about the impact of the pandemic as a form of pathology. Some mark allocations were changed. The use of WhatsApp groups as discussion forums helped build a sense of community.

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Case Study 19: ZC MDN3001S - Women’s Health
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Holding pattern/Difficulties

Summary: In ERT, students weren’t allowed to see any women’s health patients and missed out on valuable clinical exposure. The formal assessments - usually based on real patient encounters - were adapted for online by changing the portfolio of case reports to an open-book family planning assignment based on three case vignettes. Students wrote an MCQ when they were back on campus, and all questions were written from scratch to align with the new online course content and lack of clinical exposure, which was different to pre-COVID content.

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Case Study 20: ACC2011S & ACC2111S - Financial Reporting 1
Undergraduate, Commerce

Assessment category: Expanding/Enhancing/Adapting

Summary: Three types of assessments (knowledge checks, weekly quizzes, and class tests & exam) were run fully online using Vula’s Test & Quizzes tool and Assignments. The assessments involved a substantial deviation from previous formats, but attempted to assess the same learning outcomes.

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Case Study 21: AGE2012F - The First People
Undergraduate, Science

Assessment category: Expanding/Enhancing/Adapting

Summary: Students had to summarise a package of readings which were linked to an essay topic that they selected. The objective is to create an authentic reading and writing exercise for the students.

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Case Study 22: DOL4500 F/S – Legal Practice
Undergraduate, Law

Assessment category: Holding pattern/ Difficulties

Summary: Students were not able to fully practice working in the real world context by using online simulations. With real client cases being replaced with simulations and in-person mock trials being replaced with video recordings, students lost out on opportunities to develop a number of key skills and insights.

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Case Study 23: MBChB - Year 2 - Integrated Health Systems Part 1A (Pre-clinical)
Undergraduate, Health Sciences

Assessment category: Expanding, enhancing and adapting

Summary: Assessments were moved online and adapted to account for varied levels of internet access and home learning environments. Short Answer Questions (SAQs) were removed and multiple short assessments were used throughout the course instead of one large final assessment.

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Case studies will continue to be added.

 

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