Types of Assessments

What types of assessments can I use in my course?

When choosing the types of assessments to use in your course, ensure that whatever you choose allows you to assess at the appropriate cognitive level as defined by your learning aims. Different assessment types can be used for different cognitive levels. For instance, reports or projects can be designed to assess higher cognitive levels such as synthesize, evaluate, and create, while multiple choice assessments can be used for lower cognitive levels of remember and understand and analyze.

For each of the following assessment types, we describe advantages and challenges of the approach, strategies for creating, administering, and grading them, and recommendations for how to prepare students for them.

Assessment types

Considerations when selecting an assessment

Ask yourself:

  1. What type of assessment is appropriate for your learning aims?
  2. What is an appropriate period of time for completion of the assessment and why?
  3. Are timed exams necessary to assess my students?

Challenges of timed exams

In some cases, timed exams are appropriate and even necessary for measuring student learning, however, there are some challenges to timed exams that you may want to consider when choosing the assessment type you will use.

  • They create more anxiety for students, which can negatively impact their performance.
  • If online, they are vulnerable to bandwidth limitations.
  • They may place an additional burden on students with certain learning accommodations and second language learners.

Adapted from: 5 reasons to stop doing timed exams during COVID-19 (Inside Higher Ed).

The Disability Resource Center (UMTC) has identified the most common disability accommodation requests from students. Three of these are related to timed or monitored examinations:

  • Extended testing time.
  • Short breaks during testing. 
  • Semi-private testing. 

Eliminating timed examinations would negate the need for many students with disabilities to request these accommodations. Furthermore, it would prove beneficial to all students who experience anxiety or fatigue during timed and monitored exam.