Online Test Guidelines
eBridge has a number of assessment tools which can be used
for diagnostic, summative and formative assessments. Each assessment tool has
its own unique features and tests can be deployed in a variety of ways with a
number of variables so it is recommended that you assess the suitability of each
assessment tool for the type of test you wish to deliver.
This document makes reference to the Tests and Quizzes and Tasks, Tests and Surveys tools within eBridge. It is intended to provide guidance and support in relation to the creation of online tests and facilitate the selection of the appropriate assessment tool. The advice provided is not exhaustive.
Although e-assessment can offer many benefits it should not be viewed in isolation and should mirror existing assessment processes in terms of integrity and validity. It is therefore recommended that this document is read in conjunction with the University Code of Practice for Assessment procedures, Section F.
Creating an Assessment
When creating an assessment it is advisable to first create a question pool(s) and then make the relationship between the question pool and the assessment. The principle behind this is that the question pool or questions within a pool can be reused and associated with an assessment that is created enabling reusability, sustainability and reducing duplication.
Trial the Test
It is vital to trial any test set up in an eBridge site before it is deployed and made available to students. The Tel team is happy to look at any tests created and provide feedback. We can also arrange for a test site to be created. One of the advantages of this is that you or a colleague can be added to the test site with a student role so that you can take the test and experience it from a student perspective. There are other options available such as viewing the test as a student which can be done by selecting “View as Student” from underneath the tool bar menu.
Once you have created the assessment, there are a number of options within the settings that will require attention. If you set the test to allow unlimited attempts then you can make amendments, copy the test and then recheck until you are confident that the test is ready to publish.
- Check that the questions appear as you would expect them to and look for any typos. The text editors can be sensitive to text pasted from other sources and it is therefore recommended to use the “paste as plain text” option available in the text editors which will strip out any html tagging
- Check that the open/available, due and/or accept until dates are correct and the number of tries a student is allowed to take the test
- Be aware that setting a “Retract date” in the Test and Quizzes tool means that the test will be removed from the students view on the time and date set
- In the test and quizzes tool if you select any of the options associated with displaying feedback to students, for example if you would like them to see their grade upon submission, then please be aware that once the test has been completed students will be able to click on the test name and see the test questions. It may be more prudent to select the ‘no feedback’ option and allow the students to see their results in the Gradebook tool.
- The feedback/review settings differ in each assessment tool so if you are providing feedback make sure that it appears at the right time for example after submission and not prior to. The option to provide feedback prior to a test is better suited for providing hints as opposed to providing answers to questions
- If you have set a time limit be aware that eBridge has a timeout (loses connection to the server) after approximately one hour of system inactivity. System inactivity in this sense means interaction between the local web browser, generally Internet Explorer, and the eBridge servers. Interacting with text boxes or other form elements, check boxes for example, within the browser does not involve any communication with the server and thus does not count as system activity
- Check that the layout of a test is appropriate for the needs of the test for example in a timed test particularly if there are essay style questions, you may wish to have one question per page so that students are interacting with the server and therefore are not as likely to reach the one hour timeout as mentioned above. In general the layout can be set to either one question per page, one part per page or all questions on one page
- If using anonymous submission, make sure that there is a process to deal with the anonymisation of work in place. This is likely to involve other staff for example administration staff and will also likely require the need for some training. Larger scale testing involving all parties is highly recommended
- If the “Grades sent to Gradebook” option has been selected it is worth checking that this is working as you expect by checking the settings of the Gradebook tool. Fox example if you don’t wish students to see their grades you will need to make sure that “Release this item to students” is not selected in the “Edit Gradebook item settings”
Remember never to make any changes to a test which has already been taken by students. If you need to make any changes, make a copy of the test first and work on the new copy.
Trial the test with Students
Once you feel happy that the test is correct it is always advisable to have a trial run through with students. You can create a practice test that can be taken by students prior to publishing the official test. This should be dealt with by adherence to the summative opportunities of assessment available to students as per the University Assessment Procedures. Although the assessment tools allow for instructions to be displayed it is recommended that you also verbally discuss the practice test with students. Having a trial of the test allows students to become familiar with the type of assessment, the methods and your style. It also gives you an insight into how a student perceives the test and can forewarn of any potential problems.
Administering the Test
Outline the test and the assessment criteria both verbally and in writing i.e. the learning outcomes
- Outline the marking scheme both verbally and in writing
- Recommend that students regularly back up their work where possible, in the event of system failure i.e. save the page to ensure interaction with the server
- Outline the common sorts of problems that arise during online testing to students and explain what the process is should any difficulties arise: If students experience a technical problem during the test it is advisable that as much detail as possible is recorded and a call logged with the Service desk so that the technical team is made aware of the incident and can work towards diagnosing and resolving the problem
- Outline the time limit of the test and remind students that the timeout in eBridge is 1 hour and therefore it is important that there is some interaction with the system within this period
- Provide contacts for students in the event of any technical problems experienced, especially if the test is not invigilated
- If students encounter any other problem please ask them to take note of as much information as possible i.e. the site id, any error message content or a screen shot of the problem
- Consider the advice you give to students regarding the time required for each question, particularly where essay style questions are set. The question itself can have an indication of the time you expect your students to spend on it
- Confirm the appeals procedure and any other assessment regulations as necessary
- Have a backup plan in the event of system failure – have a paper based version
- Let the Tel team know in advance when tests are taking place by logging a call with the Service desk.
- Make sure you have pre booked labs for on campus assessments
- Test equipment prior to the test
- Make an allowance for a small percentage of computers not working
- Allow time for students logging on and sorting out any minor problems with computers or related equipment.
Assessment and Special Allowances
There may be students who are entitled to extra time during an assessment and therefore you may wish to consider using an assessment tool that can group students so that you can set additional time allocations where appropriate. Assessments can be copied so once the master assessment has been created, tested and works it is simple to make a copy of the assessment, rename it accordingly and amend any settings i.e. the amount of time allowed for the assessment.
- Consider the ergonomics of the room and workstations
- Pre plan any alternative formats of the assessment required
- Pre plan any assistive technology that may be required
The security of a test is of utmost importance and the eBridge assessment tools again offer a variation of options.
- Passwords can be set for tests so that students being tested in a controlled environment can be provided with a password for access at a set time. If you have a large number of students who will be taking the test at different times you can reset the password for each test session
- Use randomisation of test questions when there are large numbers of students or the test is to be taken at different times by students
- Consider Intellectual property rights and copyright issues
- Carrying out online grading provides a clear audit trail
- You can use a web content tool to link to Turnitin and request that students submit their work to be checked for plagiarism.