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Continuous assessment

The term ‘continuous assessment’ is used to describe assessments that are completed during the course module. The method is also referred to as curriculum integrated assessment or embedded assessment. Continuous assessment can replace the final assessment or can be combined with the final assessment to calculate a final grade. 

The reason for doing continuous assessment is to secure/enable a continuous and independent work rate and learning for students during the course. 

In the Ministerial Order on University Examinations and Grading it is stated that: “The programme must include a variety of examination forms to reflect the content and working methods of the course.” Accordingly, it is important that students practice the assessment method before the final assessment. This ‘curriculum embedded’ or ‘continuous assessment’ allows for feedback to students and teachers.

The Expert Committee on Quality in Higher Education in Denmark recommends:

that there is a possibility for students to get continuous assessment to increase their learning outcomes ... The committee recommends that the knowledge of current rules in this area be disseminated. This includes the possibility that student participation in teaching is a prerequisite for participation in tests and the possibility of applying continuous assessment in teaching. In addition, the committee recommends that it be researched whether there is a need for an improved legal basis for, among other things, applying continuous grade tests and for counting different types of ongoing assignments as part of the overall assessment. This may imply a limitation on the students’ test attempts for partial examinations and continuous tests.

Read more about continuous assessment below.

Continuous assessment
How to/suggestions
Media (e.g. Blackboard)

Problem solving

Theoretical exercises/tutorials

Weekly assignments incl. feedback from teaching assistant or peers

Problem solving as assignments or tests in Blackboard/LMS

Long/short answer

Written assignments (preferably several small assignments compared to one large)

Teacher/peer feedback using assessment criteria

Feedback can focus on selected parts

Assignments in Blackboard/LMS with/without assessment criteria/rubrics

Discussion fora in Blackboard/LMS with/without assessment criteria

Wiki (e.g. vocabulary developed by students) in Blackboard/LMS

Tests with ‘short answers’ questions with/without word restriction in Blackboard/LMS

Multiple choice

Teacher generated questions with or without feedback

Student generated questions

Multiple choice questions in Blackboard/LMS

Student-generated multiple choice questions in PeerWise

Skills training in sci2u.dk

OralWithout preparation

Students draws random questions, and give immediate response to questions

In class


E.g. with preparation, with aids, student presentations, defense based on previously work

Presentations in class with feedback from instructor and/or peers

Students (not presenting) can be actively involved (opponents, asking questions, peer assessment, etc.)

In class

Presentations online in Blackboard/LMS with feedback from instructor and/or peers


Practice during laboratory sessions, field work or at home


Peer feedback exercises

Assignments/blog/journal in Blackboard/LMS

In programming possibility for online exercises (provide a possibility for instant feedback via an intelligent tutoring system)

Continuous assessment can be used in two ways; (summative) assessment on activities/products contributing to the final grade or (formative) assessment on activities/products not contributing to the final grade. In both cases, feedback to lecturer and/or students is part of the process.

Summative assessments scoring/grading students’ work during the semester is a way of avoiding the challenges with long periods of no assessment followed up by a single high-risk opportunity to demonstrate learning at the very end of the module. As such, continuous assessment signals to students that engagement throughout the module is needed for successful completion, and that studying is not just about intensive work at the very end. For this reason modules with continuous assessment motivates students to work harder, but can also increase stress levels for some students.

Continuous assessment can become a very powerful way of introducing feedback to students’ work - especially if students are given a chance to act on feedback so that assessment becomes incremental, e.g. 1) students hand in a draft 2) students receive feedback on draft from peers/teaching assistant 3) students re-submit the improved draft after taking feedback into account 4) students' drafts are assessed.

Examples of assessment types are listed below

  • Small written assignments
  • Student presentations/seminars
  • Practical skills tests                   
  • Portfolio
  • Active participation
  • Multiple choice questions (potentially student-generated) and similar
  • Peer assessment