The Responsibility and Role of an Assessor when Teaching Online

role of an assessor

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Lots of online courses have assessments as part of them. Assessments help break up online courses, they help you see what your students have learned, and they can help students feel a sense of accomplishment. But what is the role of an assessor when you’re creating an online course?

Because whether you’re a formal and qualified assessor or not, if you’re somehow assessing your students online then you are playing the role of an assessor.

What is an assessment?

Assessments are commonly split into two types: formative and summative.

Formative assessments tend to be ongoing and do not count towards a grade or overall course. They can include presentations, group work, question and answer sessions and simulated activities.

Summative assessments can include the same assessments as formative. But they can also include formal exams, essays and other work which is graded and counted towards a mark or grade. Usually, this score or grade results in the passing or failure of an assessment.

Assessments are carried out in order to ensure that a student has met certain standards or criteria.

Responsibilities of an assessor

Whether assessing your students in a face-to-face environment or online, your responsibilities fundamentally remain the same:

  • Providing assessments which are valid, fair, and reliable
  • Giving students feedback on their assessments
  • Helping and coaching students who need additional support
  • Keeping your own knowledge up to date
  • Make sure that your online course prepares students for their assessment

How can you assess students in your online course?

You can assess your students in your online course using:

  • Quizzes
  • Assignments
  • Certificated assessment
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Written questions and answers
  • Oral questions and answers undertaken via Zoom, or similar

Some of your assessments could be automated. For example, quizzes and multiple-choice questions.

However, you could also implement assessments which involve you more. For example, you could assess your students complete a task and they show you their results by submitting photos, a video, or assessing them live over Zoom, or similar.

Pros and cons of different types of assessments

Assessment methodStrengthsWeaknesses
Oral and written questionsCan happen organically during a skills test if a student has not demonstrated something or the opportunity to demonstrate a skill does not arise during an observation
Oral questioning is versatile and easily adjusted for the student
It may be difficult for students with learning differences such as dyslexia and students with English as a second language
Marking of written questions can be subjectiveOral questioning can be informal and sometimes unprepared
AssignmentsA standardised process which is internationally recognised
Most students are familiar with the process of written assignments
Easy for the assessor to mark in comparison with observations
Allows the assessor to assess learning outcomes which relate to course content
It may be difficult for students with learning differences such as dyslexia and students with English as a second language
Marking of assignments can be subjective
Observation of performance in the work environmentLearners are in their own environment where they may feel more comfortable and in control of the assessment
Considered one of the best types of assessment as the student is in their own environment
Consent must be gained from service users who may be involved, particularly if filming is required
Doesn’t factor in dynamic changes in the workplace
Assessments in simulated environmentsSkills can be carried out in a controlled environment
Usually time-limited and student is aware of what needs to be completed in the set amount of timeAble to assess based on skills which would be dangerous to demonstrate otherwise, i.e. major incident training, fire drills or first aid
Can be costly to get all the equipment required
Some students do not like to simulate/act
Doesn’t always allow for the dynamic changes that come with real-life events
Many qualifications do not support this type of assessment

How to involve students in their online assessment

Involving your students in their assessment process is crucial for ensuring that they understand the standards and criteria by which they are being assessed.

Essentially, before a student undertakes an assessment, they need to know what you’re testing them on!

People don’t like surprises, particularly if they need to pass a quiz or assignment with a certain mark to unlock the next part of the course.

It’s not clever nor good practice to randomly spring a test which dictates if a student can move forward with your course on them randomly.

It’s always better to prepare your students and let them know that they will have an assignment, what grade they need to pass, and what are the consequences of not passing. Can they retake? Can they re-sit that part of the course again? Or will they be removed from your online course entirely?

A workaround to this is to involve your students in their assessments.

Ways of doing this include:

  • Telling students when they enrol about the assessments they’ll find within the course, including pass marks required to continue with the course
  • Penalties for not meeting pass marks
  • Giving students practise tests and quizzes so they can assess their own knowledge before completing a formal assessment

This post was proofread using Grammarly.

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