Assessing Learning – Online

Dear Colleagues, 

As exam season approaches, some of you may be thinking about the best ways to assess student learning during these unusual times. In consultation with the Provost’s Office, we have looked into best practices for remote assessment. 

These include: 

Whatever approach you take, please consider regular reminders of our institutional Honor Code and the importance of academic integrity. Please also consider this resource on preserving academic integrity in online assessments and a blog post with options to help reduce pressure and anxiety for students. 

We have also evaluated a number of different online exam proctoring tools, and consulted with other institutions that have either used or evaluated these tools. The listing of tools we considered includes ProctorU, Respondus, Examity, HonorLock, Proctorio, Proctorfree and ProctorTrack. In all cases, our research shows that such tools are ineffective, expensive, raise student privacy issues, undermine our Honor Code and can be off-putting to students. Because of these reasons, some schools have adopted policies asking faculty to not use such tools. While UR is not taking this approach, we are cognizant that students and faculty are all working under very unusual circumstances and these tools may not be especially well-suited at this time. 

However, to support those for whom alternative assessment options are not an option, we are considering the possibility of purchasing a small number of proctoring services. Please contact Carol Parish for more information.  

More information on using open-book assessments: 

http://www.iiserpune.ac.in/~mohanan/educ/openbook.pdf 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477727/ 

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1092705.pdf 

More information on low-stakes assessment 

http://languages.oberlin.edu/blogs/ctie/2018/04/15/less-is-more-low-stakes-assessments-and-student-success/ 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/researchers-find-that-frequent-tests-can-boost-learning/ 

As always, we wish you the best and thank you for all you are doing for our students! 

The Faculty Hub 

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