How do I assess using automated grading and feedback?

Assessment tasks that provide automated grading and feedback allow students to receive and act on feedback early and more frequently.

Well-designed automated feedback tasks offer students a rewarding learning experience, where they are adequately challenged, and can learn from the feedback they receive. These types of assessments can be authentically challenging, when students receive rich feedback from a series of questions that stimulate higher-order thinking, or from a simulation, where possible student-responses are mapped out and feedback is constructed in advance for timely delivery while students are undertaking the activity.

Follow these strategies to design effective automated feedback activities:

  • Write questions and feedback to align with your intended learning outcomes, and make this alignment clear in your task description.
  • Write questions that challenge students and give an opportunity to flex their higher-order thinking skills. Use verbs like evaluate, analyse or compare and contrast.
  • Set up question banks to assign a selection of questions on each topic, so that students are assigned a different variation, making it difficult for students to share answers.
  • Avoid writing 'trick questions' or questions that require too much thought of how it should be interpreted. Questions should be written clearly and concisely, and the focus should be more on critical thinking around concepts that students have learnt.

What are the advantages?

For students

  • Increases the amount and quality of feedback students receive
  • Helps students identify their own strengths and weaknesses
  • Tests a greater breadth of knowledge areas
  • Acts as a stimulus for active and self-managed learning, as feedback helps students identify areas of their learning where they need further improvement

For educators

  • Reduces ‘feedback-workload’ in some areas (where automated feedback is possible), to make it possible to provide more feedback in other areas of a subject (where automated feedback is not possible)
  • Helps teachers identify students who have a good grasp of content knowledge, to those who need further improvement
  • Grades certain subject areas more objectively and without bias

Support and resources

To set up a Canvas quiz, refer to Learning Environments support resources Canvas: Quizzes.

For more complex activities including branching scenarios and adaptive learning, contact Learning Environments about the suitability of Qualtrics or SmartSparrow/Aero.


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