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Faculty Hub for Teaching and Learning Across Multiple Modalities: Assessing Learning Remotely

This guide is designed to assist MDC faculty with their teaching methodology and pedagogy across multiple modalities

Assessments & Academic Integrity

A Few Do's and Don'ts


  • Communicate clear expectations regarding rules for completing assignments and tests.
  • Take steps to limit students' temptation to cheat during tests.
  • Be aware of and work within the College's policy and processes regarding cheating.


  • Assume the students know which behaviors are cheating and which are not.
  • Tell students “don’t cheat or else” and expect that to work.
  • Confuse sloppy authorship with plagiarism – not all missed citations are an attempt to deceive.
  • Expect students to learn from their mistakes unless someone is facilitating that learning.

MDC Policies on Testing and Assessment

Assessment Essentials: Getting Student Learning Assessment Ready During a Time of Disruption

The assessment of student learning is a part of every MDC course, whether that learning takes place in-person or online. More than likely assessments for your courses already exist; however, assessing student learning in a remote learning environment may look different. You may be wondering, "What is the best way to assess student learning in a remote learning environment?" Other questions about academic integrity, establishing the appropriate stakes for each assessment and using assessment to keep learners engaged may also come to mind.

Some assessments may only need a small adjustment; others may need a complete overhaul to fit into the sequence or flow of your course. Additional modifications may be needed in order to reinforce the alignment between the learning outcome and the assessment strategies. Added tools may need to be employed in order to safeguard academic integrity. Regardless of the modifications, remember when adjusting an assessment strategy for remote learning to:

  1. identify the intended course competency/learning outcome
  2. select an assessment strategy that represents the best evidence that learning was achieved
  3. incorporate techniques that safeguard academic integrity

Start by reviewing the course competencies/student learning outcomes for the course and prioritize the essential content knowledge, skills, behaviors, or attitudes. Effective assessment choices align what matters most about student learning to the instrument or measure.

Typically, assessment of learning in a remote environment can take many forms: summative, formative, high-stakes, low-stakes, indirect, and direct assessments. Each assessment strategy serves specific purposes as part of the overall learning experience, and under normal circumstances, adequate training and resources would be deployed to allow for space and time to develop a comprehensive online learning experience. While time does not allow for an overhaul of your entire assessment approach, the point is to clarify what evidence of student learning is most needed. Ask yourself:

  • What would qualify as the best evidence of mastery?

Determine the Purpose of the Assessment 

Are you examining students’ ability to recall key concepts and facts? If so, utilize a traditional assessment or objective test. Conversely, if the intent is to examine students’ ability to integrate concepts into real-world scenarios, select an assessment strategy that allows students to apply learned concepts into a novel situation, this usually takes the form of an authentic assessment measure. For additional examples of student learning areas and appropriate strategies please see the table below. Information in the table is offered as a resource for incorporating assessment strategies into your remote learning environment that will align to learning outcomes and promote academic integrity. Once you have identified the type of learning you are trying to assess, refer to the table for ideas about prompts and assessment strategies. For additional ideas, review 56 Different Ways to Gather Evidence about Student Learningcurated by David Wees.

Consider the Stakes of the Assessment

Also involved in this process is the identification of the stakes associated with the selected assessment—is it a high-stakes assessment or low-stakes assessment? High-stakes assessments refer to tests or exams where the results are linked to a major decision or consequence. High-stakes assessments are linked to significant decisions about the students’ progression, certification of knowledge, skills or abilities. Other assessments in the course may be significant measures of learning and represent a milestone in learning; however, they are not considered high stakes just because they are labeled significant. All assessments have important consequences for learners, but the results of high-stakes assessments will impact a major decision. Low-stakes assessments are equally as important in measuring student learning; however, these assessments can be used to provide learners with constant checkpoints that do not generate the same anxiety levels.

If you determine that your assessment is a high-stakes assessment that should be proctored, there are two tools that can be used to proctor assessments: Respondus Monitor and ProctorU. The College has access to a limited number of sessions for ProctorU, so use of ProctorU will be restricted to certain high-stakes assessment situations. To determine whether your assessment qualifies as a high-stakes assessment, take this brief survey. If you would like to learn more about using Respondus Monitor, you will find many tutorial resources on this CIOL Respondus site. There are many ways to assess student learning that do not require proctoring while still ensuring academic integrity. Designing robust assessments, using formative assessments, utilizing transparent assignment design principles and adding procedural elements to the assessment, such as time limits and item shuffling, are some ways to promote the integrity of the assessments. The Remote Exams and Assessments webpage provided by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, highlights various examples of alternative assessments.

Final Thoughts

  • Reflect on what you consider meaningful evidence of student learning in relationship to the identified learning outcomes and/or course competencies.
  • Some assessments may not go as planned. It is OK. Consider what a backup plan might look like.
  • Be patient with yourself and with the students. Everyone is being impacted by our new normal, there is a learning curve for everyone.
  • Stay flexible. You will probably need to be more flexible with deadlines.

It is the faculty member’s prerogative to choose the approach that best fits the purpose of the assessment and what the professor is trying to assess. The resources and examples provided here represent a few key sources for you to utilize so that you may make sound decisions about the assessment of student learning. Additional resources can be found in the resources section. Remember: stay focused on academic quality and creating a responsive learning environment. All the best in your remote assessment endeavors!

What Student Learning Evidence is Needed

Blooms Taxonomy Revised Designed to Gather Evidence of Students’ Ability to: Sample Prompts Example Assessment Strategies  Blackboard Tools that Promote Academic Integrity
Remember (Recall basic facts) Recall or recognize terms, facts, and concepts 

Who, what, when, where, how? 

How do we define…?

Short Quizzes; Objective

Test; Matching; Open book tests 
Timed Tests; Shuffle/Randomize Questions; Limit Attempts; Not allowing students to “go back” in the test
Understand (Explain ideas or concepts) Summarize; compare and contrast; classify; paraphrase; or find illustration of concepts or principles 

What are the main ideas? 

Give examples of…

Short Answer Questions
Apply (Use information in new situations) Use procedures; determine which procedure(s), concepts, facts, principles are most appropriate

How is…an example of…?

How is… related to …?     

Why is…significant?

Position Discussions; Explain to a 7th grader; Case Studies; Responses to Vignettes; Puzzles; Problem Sets; Student Led Discussions Rubrics
Analyze (Draw connections)  Discriminate or select relevant or irrelevant parts 

What are the parts or features of…? 

Classify according to…      

How does…compare or contrast with…?         

What evidence is there for…?

Think-Pair-Share; Mini Paper Safe Assign
Evaluate (Justify a decision or take a position)  Critique or judge performance, text, or products using a set of standards or established criteria 

What would you infer or predict from…? 

What ideas can you add to…?

How would you create or design…?

What might happen if you…?

Peer Reviews; Critiques; Journal Entries; Self-Assessments  Rubrics
Create (Produce new or original work)  Build, design, or generate something new 

Do you agree that…? 

What do you think about…? 

Prioritize and give a rationale for…

Decision making — what is your rationale…?

Criteria for assessing…

Concept Mapping; Design an Infographic; Draw It  Rubrics

Adapted from: