4 reasons why online assessments aren’t there yet

New research indicates technology, and student proficiency, has a long way to go

online-assessments-digital As skills like problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and technological proficiency become more valued in today’s economy and with employers, more students are being asked to create “maker” homework and projects, highlighting their knowledge of a subject through highly personalized, creative work. But can digital tools accurately assess these works?

According to a new study, “Digitizing Practical Production Work for High-Stakes Assessments,” researchers C. Paul Newhouse and Pina Tarricone from Edith Corwin University in Western Australia aimed to determine whether highly creative student work could accurately and feasibly be tested through summative high-stakes assessments.

The researchers noted that, currently, the major “obstacles” to formally assessing student “maker” work is cost and accuracy—costs associated with both sending out the work to be formally assessed as well as time constraints on faculty; and accuracy associated with providing a fair and reliable judgment of subjective student work.

However, thanks to the current availability and lowered costs of digital technologies, it may now be possible to reduce costs and provide a fair high-stakes assessment for students’ creative works.

“For high-stakes external assessment it is important that the form of assessment reflects the requirements of the practical curriculum,” notes the report. “Typically, our societies have addressed problems by developing technologies, so it is reasonable to look for technological solutions to these problems of assessment. Could digital technologies contribute to solutions?”

(Next page: Not quite there yet)