There are a number of considerations when designing assessments/exams for a course module.
Assessments have three main functions (From Carless, 2015)
Carless, D., 2015. Excellence in University Assessment. Routledge. London
The planning of assessments can be approached from several points of departure. Here the focus is on your considerations regarding the course you are teaching.
Questions to be consider for you as course lecturer when planning course assessment could be the following.
Is the assessment:
Formal requirements for assessment
The assessment for a specific course is described in the academic regulations and/or in the course catalogue (guidelines at Nat and Tech, AU – only in Danish).
The assessments should follow the “Ministerial order on university examination and grading” and the “Ministerial order on the grading system”
The Ministerial order on University examination/assessment is brief and to the point.
Assessment must be in alignment with the learning outcomes and the ongoing teaching and learning activities. An aligned assessment could for instance be the following: You teach programming in computer science (or other practical skills) and you assess your students on their actual practical programming skills and not on their ability to write about how they would program. Teaching and learning activities also train the students’ programming skills and allow the students to get feedback.
It is valuable to be familiar with a few core concepts. Assessment is summative when the purpose is to grade student achievements. Summative assessment is normally a final assessment/exam. For many Danish teachers, it is the most natural way to assess, as it concludes about the students’ achievements of the course in its whole. For the student though, it represents a ‘high stakes’ test situation, and is does not directly support their learning through the semester. That is why some teachers reach out for continuous assessment, which means that some teaching and learning activities during the course module are assessed and thus “count” with or without a final assessment. A summative assessment has validity when it measures whether students achieve the intended learning outcomes and reliability when it’s judgments are fair and objective.
Assessment can however also be formative, when it is used to provide feedback to the students on how they are doing and how they can improve.