Has Time Come to Finally Revolutionise Assessment and Feedback?

With the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines in place all over the world, thousands of teachers have been forced to move to online teaching and tutoring. Now that the teaching part is practically over, we have arrived at the time of the exam period, when normally students have to prove they have learned enough through various tests and exams. But how is this exam period going to differ from the ones in the past?  Do you think it will? I believe it definitely should!

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Image from Unsplash.com by @ivalex

I’m sure you’re not going to be surprised when I say that teachers are well aware of all the different ways that the internet and social media can help you to pass those exams. And you might already have seen for yourself that many professors and tutors have devised various strategies to prevent students from cheating, like setting extra tight time limits or asking for photo or video proof. But the real question here is: Why are we all so focused on trying to prevent cheating on digitised but still traditional tests when we could instead revolutionise the way assessment and feedback is done?


Teachers’ Current Tactics


Traditional ways of testing seem to be so ingrained in our minds that when the opportunity to make significant change arises, we don’t even know what direction we could take. Since the internet is all around us now, it is actually quite pointless to still put the same amount of emphasis on factual knowledge as has been done so before. We can google anything now, and even if Google doesn’t know, some of our friends will. Actually, there’s no way anyone could stop us from messaging one another during an exam. So what is the solution then? Even tighter time limits? 30 minutes for 50 questions? I’ve seen that, to be honest.


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Something Completely New


But that’s definitely not the way forward. This pandemic, and the quarantine that came with it, really managed to show us that we need to start thinking outside the box and rethink assessment from its core. Testing factual knowledge is a thing of the past because it doesn’t prove anything to the teacher. It cannot give a realistic picture of what somebody is capable of after having done an academic term of this or that subject. 


We need assessment and feedback through which students can showcase their abilities, such as project work, simulations, role plays, debates, demonstrations and expos. All these are basically examples of the kind of assignments that require the use and synthesis of factual knowledge in combination with such crucial  21st century skills as critical and logical thinking, prioritisation, task delegation, teamwork and collaboration. 

Obviously such tasks need more work, from both sides actually. They’re not so easy to do, so it’s also not so easy to correct and give feedback on them.

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Joanna Szoke

Article Writer & Content Contributor

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The opinions expressed in this article/publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of GiLE or its members.

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