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Choose an online assessment type

Overview of the benefits of online assessment and tips to help you plan and select the most appropriate assessment tool.

Assessment Overview

Assessment and feedback is at the heart of the student experience, shaping students' understanding of the curriculum and influencing student progress on the programme and career choices. Assessment also forms a significant part of workload for academics and administrators and yet is an area that is often rated unsatisfactory by students (JISC, 2010).

Moodle provides a range of options to support diagnostic, summative and formative assessment. 


Using technology can bring many benefits to the assessment process and some of these are outlined below:

  • Greater variety and authenticity in the design of assessments.
  • Improved learner engagement, for example through interactive formative assessments with adaptive feedback.
  • Choice in the timing and location of assessments.
  • Capture of wider skills and attributes not easily assessed by other means, for example through simulations, e-portfolios and interactive games.
  • Efficient submission, marking, moderation and data storage processes.
  • Consistent, accurate results with opportunities to combine human and computer marking.
  • Immediate feedback.
  • Increased opportunities for learners to act on feedback, for example by reflection in e-portfolios.
  • Innovative approaches based around use of creative media and online peer and self-assessment.
  • Accurate, timely and accessible evidence on the effectiveness of curriculum design and delivery.

Moodle assessment options

The Quiz activity allows you to design and build quizzes consisting of a large variety of question types, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer and essay-style questions. Questions are stored in the Question Bank and can be re-used in quizzes in different modules.

Quiz can help to build students’ confidence by providing opportunities for them to consolidate their learning, and offering instant personalised feedback.

Lecturers can also benefit from using quizzes to identify parts of the curriculum that students are struggling with, and to gather feedback about content covered in lectures.

You can use Quiz to support diagnostic and formative assessment as well as summative exams. Turnitin can be enabled for essay-style questions. 

There are three separate assignment activities in Moodle:

  1. Moodle
  2. Turnitin and
  3. Video assignment.

Assignment activities in Moodle enable students to submit their coursework as a file upload or online text and allows the Lecturer to assess, grade and provide feedback. For Moodle and Turnitin assignments, it is possible to set students a timed assignment. 

Assignment activities can be set up for diagnostic, formative and summative assessments. 

Peer assessment is the assessment of students' work by their peers against set assessment criteria. By assessing or evaluating each other’s work, students take up the role of appraisers and, over time, acquire the skills they need to make judgements on their own work. In general, there are two types of peer assessments:

  1. Assessment of team contribution in group work - members of a group assess the performance of their peers in terms of their contribution to the group's work.
  2. Assessment of coursework undertaken by other students - students provide feedback / grades on their peers' work.

Self-assessment may be included as part of peer assessment. Self-assessment requires students to reflect on their own work and judge how well they have performed in relation to the assessment criteria. Developing reflective skills provides students with the ability to consider their own performance and to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require improvement. Students can then to use this knowledge to influence their future work, whether on a programme of study or in employment.

Moodle has two peer assessment activities and also the Database and Forum activity which can be used to support Peer Assessment. Our Peer Assessment guide outlines the functionality of each activity to help you select a tool that meets your requirements.

The Forum activity allows students and lecturers to exchange ideas by posting comments as part of a 'thread'.

A Forum can be used for formative and summative assessments that require students to communicate, collaborate, debate or critique.

A wiki is a collaboratively designed webpage or series of webpages. Each time a person makes changes to a wiki page, their revision of the content becomes the current version, and an older version is stored. Edits can be reverted if necessary.

Wikis can be used for formative and summative assessments that require students to collaborate and co-create content.

Assessment planning

  • Review  LEaD's Assessment Toolkit to help you to plan for assessment.
  • Review City's Good Practice Principles for Learning Teaching and Assessment for information on setting up and supporting online exams.

Assessment deadline planning

  • Plan your assessment deadlines as a programme to ensure a manageable workload for students.
  • Set your deadlines between 8am-6pm (GMT/BST) Monday-Friday to ensure IT and course office support is available for students who experience problems with their online assessment.

Assessment information for students

To support students with online assessment:

  1. Ensure that assessment criteria and requirements at module or component level are available on the module.
  2. Ensure that assessment instructions and submission areas are clearly labelled, including when and how grades and feedback will be made available.
  3. Locate assessment information and submission points consistently on modules across a programme.
  4. Signpost the Learning with Moodle module which provides students with an opportunity to practise submitting different types of assessment activities so they understand how to do this technically.
  5. Provide coursework and exam submission dates to students at the start of a module to help them plan their time.
  6. Provide a practice Quiz to students so that they can review what types of questions will be included on the exam. This will them to prepare to complete a Quiz online. 
  7. Provide variety in assessment types to give students different opportunities to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives.
  8. Signpost students to workshops and resources provided by the Academic Skills team.
  9. Discuss academic integrity and expectations for academic writing with students.

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