Alternate Assessments

scan with app

Description: In this studio we will consider the learning space and how we define the roles and responsibilities within it. Is the instructor the expert, or the guide? Are the students passive receivers, or active participants? We will talk about how we create and assess assignments and where there is room for more student created content. We’ll look at alternatives to research papers and quizzes and discuss strategies to assess them. And, we’ll incorporate technologies to support learning from anywhere.

Opener: Assessment is part of academic life. Sometimes a research paper or a quiz is the right tool but today we’re going to think beyond them. Depending on your instructional goals something different might provide a more meaningful experience for your students. Let’s explore: student created content, blended learning, the flipped classroom, and strategies for creating assessments.

In Studio: We’re going to start by writing down a few ideas that you’ll use later and then you’ll hear some examples of creative ways instructors have used non-traditional approaches to assessment. We’ll do a short team activity to work through your ideas and then you will map out a plan for altering (or creating) one assessed activity in your course

Write down a few quick ideas. They can be as wild or as simple as you like.

Think about an engaging learning activity that you:

  • Have created
  • Have heard about
  • Have participated in
  • Have thought about trying
  • Or … ?

Examples of student created content/blended/alternate assignments

  • video documentary MA thesis: The 8th Parallel

In small groups (10 – 15 min)

Discuss the ideas you wrote down at the beginning. Choose one idea from the group and think about how you would grade it and then write some assessment criteria for it. Does writing the criteria impact your original ideas of creating the assignment?

Your Task (30 min)

      • Think about what the learning goals are for an activity that you assess.
      •  Re-design that activity using one of the challenges provided below
      • Sketch out a rubric or an assessment strategy for your new activity that could apply to different types of submitted work (example: photos, videos, audio, paper)

Things to Consider:

      • Clear learning outcomes and a rubric are important for assessment of any kind of assignment
      • Try to keep it simple so that you don’t create a burden for your marking or for your students
      • Think about ways that students could contribute from anywhere in or out of the classroom
      • Think about web tools and how mobile devices might be incorporated
      • Would your activity work in a class of 300 as well as a seminar? What changes would you have to make?



      • What one thing challenged you in this studio?
      • What (if anything) could you use right now?
      • Is your department or institution open to ideas like this?
      • What kind of big ideas can you see for the future of assessments at your institution?

If you’d like please share a take away thought on twitter or on a post-it note on the wall.

Examples/suggested tools/Resources

Examples of Learning Online: Assessment Beyond the Paper

Example Assignment from Royal Roads University Environmental Science:

Authentic Assessment Toolbox:

From Consumer to Creator (UBC) :

2 thoughts on “Alternate Assessments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *