Identifying appropriate alternative assessments

Important

Before you begin, with the detailed considerations listed below, please consider carefully the following institutional guidance on assessment in view of Covid-19 circumstances (dated 24/03/2020). This guidance has key up-to-date information on online submissions, controlled conditions assessments, assessment duration, exam start times, and other key procedural advice:

If you are unsure about any of the content listed here, then in the first instance, please contact your Faculty Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching.

This page was last updated at 11:40 on 26/03/2020.

1. Current offer: Time constrained/controlled conditions unseen exams

These are typically unseen exams and in-class tests that are classed as taking place under controlled conditions.

Review the detailed guidance around assessment duration and start time published here: https://go.uwe.ac.uk/faqcolleagues. Avoid, where possible, the start/end time of exams falling over a weekend as staff may not be available to support students over non-working days.

Online alternatives

Open-book assessment, in which you set the questions or tasks virtually and ask the students to submit their responses electronically by a deadline. These can be in the form of:

  • A piece of coursework
  • A series of questions e.g. multiple-choice or free-text questions. In Blackboard the tool for this is called ‘test’ see the following link for guidance:
  • Important note:
    • Controlled conditions online assessment – We do not recommend this form of online assessment as a matter of course due to variations in the availability of broadband and equipment for our students. If a controlled conditions exam is required by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB), please contact your Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching to discuss urgently.

Things to consider

  • Avoid questions that ask students to recall knowledge, and focus on asking students to apply, analyse, critique or evaluate knowledge.
  • Ensure students have clear guidance and include opportunities for revision and/or formative assessment prior to the summative assessment.
  • Provide an opportunity for students to trial online tests to ensure they are comfortable with the technology prior to the date of assessment.
  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) can be a useful alternative but require some focused preparation. If you have not used them before, please seek guidance from experienced colleagues. Short guide from Bristol University is helpful if you are thinking about MCQs:
  • Consistent with existing practice, use originality checker software (i.e. SafeAssign) to deter assessment offences.
  • If you have more queries, contact your Faculty Assessment Offence Adviser.

2. Current offer:  In-class presentations

For example, in-class presentations where students are assessed on content and presentation skills.

Online alternatives

  • Students (individually or as a group) submit a narrated presentation in electronic form. PowerPoint is familiar to most students and offers options to add a slide-by-slide voice-narration recording facility. If voice recording is not feasible, a script could be added in the notes section as an alternative.
  • Video submission – students can record themselves delivering a presentation (slide, audio and webcam) using Kaltura. However, this needs careful consideration regarding students having access to the required kit and supporting the submission – please discuss with your Faculty Learning Technologists before committing to this option.
  • Important note: Virtual real-time presentation – We do not recommend this as a matter of course due to variations in the availability of broadband and equipment for our students. If a real-time online presentation is required by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB), please contact your Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching to discuss urgently.

Things to consider

  • Students should have the opportunity to practice their presentations before they submit.
  • Students will need clear guidance on how to narrate PowerPoints.
  • Students will need access to appropriate technologies.

3. Current offer: Portfolios

Including Logbooks and Assessment Notebooks.

Online alternatives

  • Collecting images and notes into a Word document which could be accompanied by some explanatory text.
  • Use online blogs or ePortfolios e.g. PebblePad.
  • Allow students to photograph or scan existing hard copy evidence and to upload into ePortfolio.
  • Use of audio recordings for tasks where you ask students to summarise learning or offer reflections on their learning and practice.

Things to consider

  • If you wish to move an assessment to PebblePad please discuss this with your Faculty Learning Technologists. Contact details are available on the landing page for this set of guidance notes.
  • We advise moving an assessment to PebblePad only if you and your students are already familiar with using the platform.
  • PebblePad guidance on adding evidence to resources can be found here:
  • PebblePad guidance on creating blogs on PebblePad can be found here:
  • Important note: Further guidance on submissions processes can be found in the Staff Facing FAQs linked at the top of this page.

4. Current offer: Oral Assessment

Online alternatives

  • Microsoft Teams is now available to all staff.
  • You can schedule a meeting with a student on Microsoft Teams using their email address.
  • Alternatively, you can use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. However, please be aware that students may have variations in the availability of broadband and equipment.
  • Important note: If a real-time /and or recorded online presentation is required by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB), please contact your Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching to discuss urgently. Presentations can be recorded using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, but please make sure students are aware that recording is taking place.

Things to consider

  • Do you need students to present information? Will you need to invite external colleagues to the meeting? Do you need to keep a record of the conversation? What tool is best suited for this?
  • Check your student has the hardware, software and bandwidth to participate in any real-time conversations.
  • Offer students the opportunity to practice prior to their assessment.

5. Current offer: Posters or other digital artefacts

Online alternatives

  • Students photograph and upload hand drawn posters or provide a digital poster or infographic as a Blackboard submission.

Things to consider

  • Give students the opportunity to augment posters with textual or audio narration or multimedia elements.
  • Digital artefacts could enable the creation of a virtual gallery, comments by peers or the curation of materials as exemplars.
  • Students should be pointed towards guidance on copyright law in relation to images and other content.

6. Current offer: Physical Artefacts

Online alternatives

  • Students will work off-site and prepare submissions via blogs, PowerPoint, PDF journals, or websites.
  • Artefacts may be documented and presented for assessment in the form of films and/or photographs (uploaded to PebblePad, Blackboard, or similar institutionally supported tools).
  • PDF submissions may include relevant links and documentation demonstrating concepts and ideas, including developmental tests, sketches, technical drawings.
  • Students may present a plan or proposal if they are not able to evidence a fully completed artefact. This should be supported by evidence of any research, design or development already conducted.
  • Submit reflective narratives (text or audio) to outline the progressive practice and the ambitions of the work beyond the presented proposals.
  • Important note: Elements of assessments which require access to specialist equipment or software or large data uploads are not recommended at this time due to variations in the availability of each for our students.
  • Further guidance on assessments that require access to specialist equipment or spaces can be found in the Staff Facing FAQs linked at the top of this page.

Things to consider

  • Do students have access to the appropriate digital technology and software?
  • Do students have access to their artefact to take photographs or video of it?  This may not be possible if it is on University premises.
  • GDPR implications of any technology, especially free to use and open access tools, such as YouTube, Vimeo or similar that you may consider using with your students.
  • If you wish to move an assessment to PebblePad please discuss this with your Faculty Learning Technologists. However, consider moving an assessment to PebblePad only if you and your students are already familiar with using the platform.
  • PebblePad guidance on adding evidence to resources can be found here:
  • PebblePad guidance on creating blogs on PebblePad can be found here:

7. Current offer: Lab work

Online alternatives

  • It may be possible to replicate some aspects of lab work through simulations in which students are presented with data sets and required to interpret them.
  • Simulations can also be used remotely so students can ‘see’ data produced elsewhere and be asked to comment/interpret.
  • Important note: Elements of assessments which require access to specialist equipment are not recommended at this time. If this is required by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB), please contact your Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching to discuss urgently.
  • Further guidance on assessments that require access to specialist equipment or spaces can be found in the Staff Facing FAQs linked at the top of this page.

Things to consider

  • This may mean focusing on interpretation of data rather than working in the lab to achieve the results.
  • Consider providing students with different data sets where practicable.
  • Some resources that may prove helpful are available at Merlot lab resources.
  • To aid distance/remote learning, JoVE is also offering its resources free until June 15th. This is a huge resource and well worth a visit

8. Current offer: OSCEs

Please refer to Faculty and NHS guidance on Objective Structured Clinical Examinations or other tests which require students to demonstrate skills. Please contact your Faculty Associate Dean Learning and Teaching to discuss urgently.

9. Current offer: Theatre, Dance and Performance

Online alternatives

  • Students work off-site individually to prepare and submit recordings of their work.
  • Important note: Please assume that group work will be impracticable to complete at this time, and make alternative arrangements.

Things to consider

  • If students are recording videos, consider how they will be supported and guided in doing so.
  • Students could provide a short reflection on how their submission relates to an authentic live performance.