Final written assessment

This table is intended as a quick overview of written assessment. The first four methods of assessment listed can easily be combined. More information below the table.

Written assessment methods rarely used at Science and Technology, Aarhus University are described under innovative assessment and written assignments in combination with an oral defence are described under oral assessments.

Methods of assessment
Pros
Cons
How to practice during the module

Problem solving

Students solve problems that can be answered with a number

Testing calculation and problem solving skills

Highly reliable grading across different graders

Often focus on end-result and not on process

Theoretical exercises/tutorials

Weekly assignments incl. feedback

Problem solving in Blackboard/LMS

Short answer

Students write a short response to a large number of questions

Useful for testing a wide range of topics Less dependent on the speed of writing

Often easier to correct compared to long answers

Word restriction requires digital assessment

Correction criteria needed to increase grading reliability

Short answer test questions with word restriction in Blackboard/LMS

Peer feedback exercises using assessment criteria

Long answer

Students write a long response to a small number of questions

Can test reasoning and analysing

Assessment familiar to students

Can avoid plagiarism and cheating

Challenge to cover the curriculum widely  

Takes longer to correct than short answer

Correction criteria needed to increase grading reliability

Long answer-type questions in Blackboard/LMS

Long answer-type written assignments

Peer feedback exercises using assessment criteria

Multiple choice/(multiple) true false

Students select the best answer from 4 - more alternatives (or true/false). An alternative is to choose one or more alternatives (multiple response)

Useful for testing a wide range of topics

Appropriate for recall and memorisation

Can be used for decision making

Can provide instant or quick feedback No focus on writing skills

The correct answer can be guessed (false positive)

Time consuming to develop questions that test understanding

Multiple choice questions in Blackboard/LMS

Student-generated multiple choice questions in PeerWise

Skills training in sci2u.dk

Scientific paper/report

Student write a paper/report often based on practical or field work

Authentic

Based on practical, theoretical or field work

Ideal preparation for thesis (bachelor/master thesis)

Individual grades required for group project

Can take a long time to assess

Exercises testing academic writing skills

Lab report (or parts hereof such as ‘abstract’ ‘methods’, ‘analysis’)

Poster

Students produce a visual poster

Visual format

Easy to share between students

Authentic

Reduces correction time compared to take-home assignment

Visual design can be rated higher than content

Previous posters used as inspiration and to visualise assessment criteria

The classical final assessment completing a module is a written exam on campus within a given number of hours.

The type of questions (e.g. multiple choice questions, short-answer or long-answer questions) used in the exam will influence the knowledge and skills tested as well as how much of the curriculum is covered. Some exams will also test the students’ ability to prioritise time. The aids allowed during the exam (e.g. books, notes, calculator, internet) likewise influence what is being tested. The use of computers can increase the authenticity of the assessment by providing spell check and internet access and thereby altering the type of exam. Digitisation can reduce the correction time, especially for exams with closed questions.

Written assessment can also include take-home exams (duration from 24 hours to a semester) or can be a collection of assignments produced during the module. These written assignments can be combined with an oral presentation or defence to secure that the student is in fact the author of the work. These types of assessment can be more authentic and can provide an opportunity to test creativity, research skills, and originality.

Suggested alternatives/supplements

Smaller written assignments during the module on which students receive constructive feedback from teaching assistants and/or lecturer can replace parts of a final exam. Feedback can be given such that students will be able to apply it at subsequent assignments or at the final exam. The intention is that the lecturer spends less time correcting the final exam and more time giving feedback during the module.

Embedded assessment during the module can contribute a certain percentage of points to the final grade. The value of this percentage should reflect the amount of work that students are expected to put into the activities and the learning outcomes covered. This kind of assessment can include problem solving, short answer questions, multiple choice tests, etc.


Examples of assessment types are listed below.

On campus assessment

  • Short/long answer written assessment open/closed book/internet
  • Problem solving with/without open/closed book/internet
  • Multiple choice questions and similar

Take home assessment

  • Written paper/report/poster with/without oral defence
  • Case study

Written assessment based on previous work

  • Portfolio
  • Internship report
  • Project report