Use Multiple Low Stakes Assessments

"Assessment of understanding should be thought of in terms of a collection of evidence over time instead of an “event” – a single moment-in-time at the end of instruction."

- Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p 152

Multiple low stakes assessments have been shown to correlate with improved student learning outcomes (Sotola, 2020) and enhanced long-term retention (Brame, 2015).  For example, rather than using only 2 midterms and a final, use multiple low stakes quizzes distributed throughout the course.

Before redesigning their assessments, this example has two mid-terms and a final indicated by three orange circles. After there are multiple weekly quizzes indicated by 12 small orange circles.

With this approach, a poor performance by a student on a single assessment will not have as large of an impact on their final grade. Additionally, low stakes assessments may lower test anxiety, allowing some students to perform better. 

UMN web resource: Canvas self-help guide Assess and Grade Student Work 
Setting up online quizzes in Canvas is one way to administer frequent low stakes assessments. 

Another way to provide multiple low-stakes assessments is to break up a larger project into smaller pieces for assessment throughout the term. This approach prevents students from waiting until the last minute to work on a project. It also allows instructors to recognize when students are getting off-track with enough time to correct them.

Web resource: Concrete Strategies for Frequent, Low-Stakes Assessments/Practice (Eberly Center)