Design for Assessment2018-09-03T12:38:01+10:00


At Western Sydney University, assessments are encouraged to be distinctively student-centred with scaffolded tasks and the provision of prompt feedback.


Design for assessment in TEL environments can provide students with flexibility regarding when and where assessment activities can take place. Assessments tasks can also give students opportunities to experience different modes of learning and to develop new skills in learning technologies. This flexibility, however, is only made possible if there is constructive alignment between assessment activities, learning activities and learning materials. Without this alignment, the benefits of online assessment activities can be lost and this alignment is even more important in TEL environments because clarification of course content via synchronous contact with teachers can be less frequent than in campus-based contexts.


Constructive alignment

Students need to know that assessment tasks are a way of measuring how successfully the learning outcomes have been achieved. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the learning outcomes, learning activities and assessment tasks are aligned.

Schedule of assessment tasks

Students need to be able to plan time devoted to study. Therefore, they need to be provided with a schedule of formative and summative assessments with clear deadlines and links to assessment rubrics.

Think about the duration that assessment tasks are available to students. In TEL environments, you need to make sure that you are sensitive to the time commitments of your student cohort.

Is it a formative or summative assessment?

Students need to be able to partition their time so they can divide time between formative and summative tasks appropriately. Assessment rubrics need to be clearly accessible.

Have you provided instructions for use of technologies?

If students need to use technology as part of their assessment, have you provided appropriate and relevant instructional material? Have you accounted for the amount of time learning new technologies might take?

Process, product or both?

Are you assessing the product, process or both? Your learning outcomes and rubric associated with the assessment task should reflect this.

Sequential complexity

Have you made sure, where possible, that your assessment tasks are sequenced such that they build upon the knowledge or skills that were previously measured?

Type of assessment

Individual or group assessment

Assessments that are built around individual submissions are easier to manage in TEL environments than group assessments.

Group assessments. Can the same learning outcome be met without group work? If group work is essential, have you considered how groups will form and how they will be managed? See ‘Managing group work’ below.

Peer assessment

Have you provided students with explicit instructions for how to use the peer marking system?


The provision of feedback is a very important component of student learning in a TEL environment. You can provide formative feedback in quizzes and this feedback can help scaffold students during the unit.

Students using iPad


The assessment design principles and a revised Bloom’s taxonomy are provided to you to help you design your assessment activities. Use the principles and Bloom’s framework to design your assessment activities using the assessment planner.

The following principles are useful in guiding your design of a TEL assessment:

Clarify good performance

To what extent do students have opportunities to engage actively with goals, criteria and standards before, during and after an assessment task?

Encourage ‘time and effort’ on learning tasks

To what extent do your assessment tasks encourage deep learning rather than surface learning?

Deliver high-quality feedback information

What kind of feedback do you provide, and in what ways does it help students to self-assess and self-correct?

Provide opportunities to act on feedback

To what extent is feedback attended to and acted upon by students and, if so, in what ways? (to close any gap between current and desired performance)

Ensure assessments have a positive impact on learning

To what extent are your summative and formative assessments aligned and supportive of the development of valued qualities, skills and understanding?

Encourage interaction and dialogue round learning

What opportunities are there for feedback dialogue (peer-peer and/or tutor-learner) around assessment tasks in your course?

Encourage self-assessment and reflection in learning

To what extent are there formal opportunities for reflection, self-assessment or peer assessment in your course?

Give choice in the delivery of assessments

To what extent do students have choices in the topics, methods, criteria, weighting and/or timing of learning and assessment tasks?

Involve students in decision making

To what extent are students kept informed or engaged in consultations regarding assessment policy and practice?

Support the development of learning communities

To what extent do your assessment and feedback processes help to encourage social bonding and the development of learning communities?

Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem

To what extent do your assessment and feedback processes enhance your students’ motivation to learn and be successful?

Provide information to instructors that can be used to help shape their teaching

To what extent do your assessment and feedback processes inform and shape your teaching?
Female students


There are a range of tools available in the LMS to encourage student engagement, including:

Feedback vUWS Retention Centre
Discussion board
Turnitin Feedback Studio
Quizzes (formal and self assessment) vUWS Quiz
Marking Turnitin Feedback Studio
Grade Centre
Self and peer assessment Turnitin Feedback Studio
vUWS Self and Peer Assessment
Submission Turnitin Feedback Studio
vUWS Assignment
Survey Qualtrics
vUWS Survey
Review Design Tools
DFT Support


Assessment planner

Use the planner to help you in the design of student-centred assessments

Download TEL Assessment Planner (PDF)

Activity planner

Use the planner to help you in the design of engaging learning activities

Download TEL Activity Planner (PDF)