Create an effective online assessment

Information for LMS administrators and course creators

Creating a well rounded online assessment is different to an assignment, written assessment or oral exam. These tips have been created for LMS administrators

Creating an effective assessment means careful planning and consideration of the learning objectives, content, and desired outcomes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective online assessment:

  1. Define learning objectives:
    Identify your objectives. What specific knowledge or skills do you want to measure?
  1. Determine format of the assessment:
    Combining essay, multiple choice, practical assignments can cover each objective on a different level. Multiple-choice questions are suitable for assessing factual knowledge, comprehension, and application of concepts, and can be auto-marked, saving you time and money.
  1. Create a question bank, on different difficulty level:
    Create a pool of questions covering the topics or areas to be assessed. Ensure that questions are clear, concise, and aligned with the learning objectives. Question types need to include recall, application questions (based on a scenario), and analysis (problem solving).
    Determine whether the assessment is formative (during the learning process) or summative (after the course)
  1. Write questions:
    Craft each question with one correct answer and several plausible distractors ie incorrect options. Keep questions and answer choices clear and unambiguous. Avoid using double negatives or overly complex language. We are trying to help people learn, not trick them. Ensure that the correct answer is not obvious and that distractors are plausible to challenge learners.
  1. Assessment structure:
    Determine the number of questions and allocate appropriate time for completion. Consider including different levels of difficulty and varying the cognitive complexity of questions throughout the assessment. Difficulty levels work from 1 – 6, with increasing intensity. Difficulty will be directly correlating to the employee role.
  1. Review, revise and get a second opinion:
    Review the assessment to ensure accuracy, relevance, and alignment with learning objectives. Check for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. Revise questions as needed based on feedback from subject matter experts or colleagues.
  1. Pilot Test: Administer the assessment to a small group of staff members as a pilot test. Gather feedback on question clarity, difficulty, and relevance.
  1. Finalize Assessment: Incorporate any revisions based on feedback from the pilot test. Ensure that the assessment is properly formatted and ready for administration.
  1. Administer Assessment: Determine the method of administration (e.g., online platform, paper-based). Make this clear to the student. Students need to be able to find the assessments, some online platforms are so complicated, students cant find the assessments to complete. Set the timing on the assessment. Communicate clear instructions to staff regarding the assessment format, timing, and expectations.
  1. Analyze Results: Score assessments and analyze results to identify areas of strength and weakness. Use assessment data to inform training needs, identify gaps in knowledge or skills, and guide future learning initiatives.

Additional Tips:

  • Ensure that questions are fair and unbiased, avoiding cultural or gender biases.
    Randomize the order of questions and answer choices to minimize potential bias.
  • Consider including feedback or explanations for correct and incorrect answers to enhance learning outcomes.
  • Regular evaluation of the assessments, student feedback and student results, can help drive continuous improvement and professional development within your organization.