Aarhus Universitets segl

Final practical assessment

Final practical assessments are rarely used at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, and the methods of assessment are therefore described here and under innovative assessment. More information below the table.

Methods of assessment
How to practice during the module

Practical skills test

Students perform skills obtained e.g. in laboratories, in field work or in computer labs

Testing skills practiced during the module (e.g. handling of equipment, lab set up, performing experiments, using computer programs, collecting samples in the field)

Addition to knowledge testing 

Preparation and implementation can be time consuming for lecturer

Can be a costly and a logistic challenge

Experimental work practiced during laboratory sessions, in field work or at home



Students develop a program to solve a given task

Authentic; Problem-solving in an authentic programming environment (compiler, online documentation of library functionality, debugging opportunities, etc.)

Testing skills that are key learning goals and that are often practiced during the module

Possibility of automated grading

Effective, efficient and fair

Correction criteria needed to increase grading reliability

Programming practiced during laboratory sessions and homework

Online coding exercises (provide a possibility for instant feedback via an intelligent tutoring system)

Peer feedback exercises

Objective structured practical/clinical exam

Individual students are tested at several ‘stations’ for 5-15 minutes

Testing multiple practical/clinical skills quickly

Can test high-level skills in authentic context (interpreting analysis, decision based on available information, making diagnosis etc.)

Limited use outside medical and clinical education

Can be a costly and a logistic challenge

Time-consuming to design the ‘stations’

Practical/clinical work practiced during module


Students are tested through a simulated environment (e.g. virtual lab, surgery or aviation)

Can measure a wide range of practical skills

Highly authentic for some professions

Takes time to design

Practice in virtual environments during module

Examples of a final practical assessment can be a computer coding assignment, a chemistry laboratory set-up, or a medical case including e.g x-ray pictures from a patient. The practical skills of the students can be tested directly - e.g. can they dissect a fish, write a code or set up a chemical reaction as opposed to just writing about it.

Practical assessment has the possibility of being more authentic and therefore higher valued by students. But designing and setting up these assessments can be time-consuming.

Suggested alternatives/supplements

A final practical assessment should be supported by smaller practical assessments during the module where students receive constructive feedback from peers, teaching assistants and/or lecturer. The practical assessments during the module could contribute to parts of the final assessment.

Examples of assessment types are listed below

  • Practical skills test
  • Case study
  • Coding
  • Artefact