CSCC Digital Education & Instructional Services

Alternative Assessment


Alternative Assessment


Definition:

  • The essence of alternative assessment is that students are given the opportunity to do one or more of the following:
    • Demonstrate their ability
    • Perform a meaningful task
    • Receive feedback in terms of relevant and defensible criteria
  • In short, the purpose for using alternative assessments is to assess students’ proficiency in performing complex tasks that are directly associated with learning outcomes.
  • An Annotated Bibliography
    • This document provides an overview of existing research regarding alternative assessments, with an emphasis on how they might be implemented in real-world situations. Given the volume of literature on the topic, this is a working document, to be expanded as the literature is explored.
  • Alternative Assessment Design Process

Advantages:

  • Provides a means to assess valued skills
  • Promotes critical thinking
  • Provides for demonstration of applied knowledge
  • Promotes the student learning at a deeper level
  • Is an example of active learning and when done in groups is active and collaborative learning.
  • Research shows that students are highly engaged.
  • Typically students satisfaction when they engage with alternative assignment.

Challenges:

  • Time and effort on the part of the instructor and students
  • Grading may be viewed as more subjective
  • Student knowledge of technology

Alternative Assessment Self-help Videos

Why Do We Assess?
(2:44)

Alternative Assessment Definition
(2:07)

Alternative Assessment-Advantages and Challenges (4.27)

Why Alternative Assessment?
(2:46)

Alternative Assessment Examples
(4:24)

Alternative Assessments Suggestions

One of the most challenging aspects of teaching in the remote and online environment is the assessment of student learning. Faculty seeking ways to assess what students have learned and to reduce incidents of academic dishonesty may consider implementing alternative assessments. Alternative assessments promote an authentic assessment of student learning.

Alternative assessments are used to determine what students can and cannot do, in contrast to what they do or do not know. They encourage students to learn to apply knowledge rather than memorize material.

Examples of Alternative Assessments

Type of Alternative Assessment Suggestions
Open-ended questions Move away from traditional true/false, multiple choice, matching question types. Use short answer or essay questions that require a student to provide an answer that demonstrates critical thinking and original thought.
Written compositions Consider using TurnItIn to identify plagiarism and assess authentic student work. Click here for help with TurnItIn.
Oral presentations Students can give presentations using Bb Collaborate or WebEx from remote locations. Click here for help with Collaborate.
Projects There are endless possibilities of projects that students can complete to demonstrate critical thinking, skills, and understanding of course concepts (e.g. plan an event, create and conduct a survey, develop a business plan, interview a professional in their field of study, conduct a quality improvement project, and many more).
Experiments Utilize virtual laboratory experiences and demonstrations. Link to collection of virtual science laboratory resources
E-portfolios Students can collect artifacts (samples of work) and create a website or electronic notebook to demonstrate their accomplishments. Reflection is often included in the portfolio to allow the student to make connections between coursework and experiences. (Examples of software students may use to create e-portfolios – Google Sites and OneNote)
Infographics Students can create an infographic that examines a course concept. (Example of software to create infographic – Canva.com)
Videos Students can create a video explaining a concept, demonstrating a skill, reflecting on content, etc. Students may use their phone, computer, or other device. All students now have access to Kaltura Capture, which is used to upload videos and may also be used to create videos. Click here for help with getting started with Kaltura.
Pecha Kucha PowerPoint presentation This style of presentation uses 20 slides, for 20 seconds each, for a 400 second PowerPoint presentation on any concept. https://www.pechakucha.com/
Original songs and short films For the more creatively inclined students and subjects, students may create a short (5 minute) film. Students may write and perform a song that demonstrates a course concept or theory.
Peer Review This activity is where students “grade” students. The peer reviewer must document what a classmate demonstrated or said to support the evaluation of a skill performed or an assignment completed. The instructor can assess the peer reviewer’s knowledge of the concept by the peer reviewer’s evaluation of a classmate’s performance. The instructor may provide a rubric to peer reviewers that includes the expectations of meaningful feedback.

What to Consider for Disability Services Students with Accommodations When Assigning Alternate Assessments

Type of Alternative Assessment DS Considerations

Please note: Modified alternate assessment= an alternate assessment that requires modification to meet a student's accessibility/accommodation needs.
Open-ended Questions Move away from traditional true/false, multiple choice, matching question types. Use short answer or essay questions that require a student to provide an answer that demonstrates critical thinking and original thought.

Short answer or essay questions should be accessible to students using a variety of Assistive Technology software options and should not pose an issue as an alternate assessment.

However, the platform utilized may impact certain accommodations (e.g. LockDown Browser would impact a student’s ability to utilize spell check). Alternate platforms/submission options may need to be explored.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are the open-ended questions inclusive to all? Or are they asking for specific feedback related to something seen, heard, or physically manipulated?

If not, the student MAY need a modified alternate assessment.

Written Compositions Consider using Turnitin to identify plagiarism and assess authentic student work. Click here for help with TurnItIn.

Written compositions should be accessible for students using a variety of Assistive Technology software options and should not pose an issue as an alternate assessment.

Oral Presentations Students can give presentations using Zoom or Teams or WebEx from remote locations. Click here for help with Collaborate.

Many disabilities/diagnoses may impact a student’s ability to give an oral presentation (e.g., Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Speech-related Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety, etc.).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can the student use sign language while their interpreter provides the voicing?
  • Can the student activate a text-to-speech program that reads aloud if they are unable to?
  • Could the student present in a 1-on-1 with the instructor instead of the entire class?
  • Can the student pre-record their presentation?

If not, the student MAY need a modified alternate assessment.

Projects There are endless possibilities of projects that students can complete to demonstrate critical thinking, skills, and understanding of course concepts (e.g. plan an event, create and conduct a survey, develop a business plan, interview a professional in their field of study, conduct a quality improvement project, and many more).

Many disabilities/diagnoses may impact a student’s ability to complete a project depending on both the specifications of the project and their disability.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can the student safely perform the tasks (see, hear, etc.) and handle all necessary materials?
  • Is the program being used to do the project accessible with any Assistive technology software or hardware the student might be using?
  • Can the student respond to the necessary visual/auditory information unassisted?
  • If the project is done by hand, is there an alternate option to create content digitally if the student can use a computer more easily than accomplishing the task manually (digital collage vs. handmade posterboard)?
  • If a project includes interaction with community members, visits to public locations (interviews, site visits) etc., are there ways to complete the assignment virtually (for those with at-risk medical conditions)?

If not, the student MAY need a modified alternate assessment.

Projects that may pose issues include (but are not limited to) posterboard assignments for students with physical mobility limitations or viewing a painting and writing about for a student with a visual impairment.

Experiments Utilize virtual laboratory experiences and demonstrations. Link to collection of virtual science laboratory resources

Many disabilities/diagnoses may impact a student’s ability to create an infographic (e.g., Visual impairments or physical mobility limitations).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can the student safely perform the tasks and handle all necessary materials?
  • Is the virtual lab experience (video, webcam, etc.) accessible for students with vision or hearing-related disabilities?

If not, the student MAY need a modified alternate assessment.

Students with visual impairments and/or physical mobility limitations MAY require physical assistance with these types of alternate assessments and should be in contact with DS as soon as possible.

E-Portfolios Students can collect artifacts (samples of work) and create a website or electronic notebook to demonstrate their accomplishments. Reflection is often included in the portfolio to allow the student to make connections between coursework and experiences. (Examples of software students may use to create e-portfolios – Google Sites and OneNote)

Many disabilities/diagnoses may impact a student’s ability to create an infographic (e.g., Visual impairments or physical mobility limitations).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the program being used to create the E-portfolio accessible with any Assistive technology the student might be using, and if not, could they use something different?
  • Can the student output the desired visual layout of the E-Portfolio unassisted?

If not, the student MAY need a modified alternate assessment.

Students who are visually impaired or have physical mobility limitations MAY need a different E-portfolio program OR be provided a modified alternate assessment.

Infographics Students can create an infographic that examines a course concept. (Example of software to create infographic – Canva.com)

Many disabilities/diagnoses may impact a student’s ability to create an infographic (e.g., Visual impairments or physical mobility limitations).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the program being used to create the infographic accessible with any Assistive technology the student might be using?
  • Can the student output the desired visual layout of an infographic unassisted?

If not, students MAY need a different program, or a modified alternate assessment may be necessary.

Rubrics

Using grading rubrics can substantially facilitate the grading of an alternative assignment. Rubrics allows you to

  • Keep consistent grading
  • Give students detailed guidelines for how they will be assessed

Information Related to Using Rubics with Blackboard