Training Educators to Design and Develop ODL Materials/Types of Assessment in ODL/Content3

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Tutorial.png Workshop Modules Home.png Principles of ODL | ID Models | Needs Analysis | Developing Learners’ Profile | Methods of Delivery | Content Development Methodology for ODL | Types of Assessment in ODL | Developing a Student Guide | Relevant Technologies | Course Evaluation | Other Key Issues


Assessment of student learning outcomes is primarily a programme level responsibility. This is frequently embodied in observation, measurement and analysis of student achievement of demonstrable learning outcomes as stated in intended course goals, objectives, or competencies.

An assessment plan must adapted or developed in order to achieve effectiveness, continuity and sustainability of the assessment process. Course outcome assessment activities need to integrated components of any assessment plan.


It is worth noting that assessment in ODL adheres to the same guiding principles as face to face assessment. Therefore the following should be considered in planning and writing assessment for ODL.

  • Is there a commonly accepted policy on the method of ODL course assessment?
  • Is there a commonly accepted marking scheme?
  • What are the individual parts of assessment in each course?
  • What is the process of selecting the appropriate assessment?
  • Does assessment contribute to the fulfillment of learning objectives?
  • Does assessment correspond to workload (credits)?
  • Are there specific marking criteria for each individual piece of assessment?
  • Is the student informed about the assessment criteria and marking scheme?
  • Is there provision for timely feedback? What is the form of feedback?
  • Are there clear examination procedures?
  • Are there effective ways in place to identify impersonation and plagiarism?

Assessment of Student Outcomes

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Key points
  1. A systematic approach to assessment integrates a complete cycle of the following general components:
    • Program goals
      • Measurable objectives or standards
        • Valid, reliable assessment measures
          • Course curricular reference(s)
            • Time frame for implementation
              • Plan for collection and analysis of results
                • Action plan for change or improvement
                  • Results reporting
                    • Budget and/or planning implications
  2. A systematic approach to assessment should also engage techniques for measuring prior learning, intended outcomes and value added; provides for documentation of what learners know, and what they can do as a result of learning experiences.
  3. Any assessment plan need to embrace continuous or frequent assessment through various means of observation, measurement, and analysis of intended outcomes. These assessment components assist learning achievement, and assess learner progress and achievement.
  4. Learning outcomes measures should establish a foundation for entering sequential courses, insure compatibility with campus based courses, and provide indication of integrity of student work and the credibility of the specific course.
  5. Students need to be provided with systematic, constructive, frequent and timely feedback throughout the outcomes assessment process.
  6. Course assessment results should provide documentation of student achievement that is applicable to measurement of program goals achievement.

Learning activities need to be organized around demonstrable learning outcomes embedded in the course components including; course delivery mode, pedagogy, content, organization, and evaluation.It means therefore that:-

  1. Learning outcomes need to
    • address both content mastery and increased learning skills.
    • be described in observable, measurable and achievable terms
    • be assessed in a way which is relevant to the course content, the learner's situation, the learning design and the distance delivery media or system.
    • provide the design basis for developing educational experiences.
    • reviewed regularly to assure their clarity, utility and appropriateness for the learners.
  2. Learning activities for the modes of assessment need to be responsive to the learning needs of individual learners.
  3. Assessment of Outcomes are most effective when learners help shape the learning outcomes and how they are achieved.
  4. Achievement of intended learning outcomes need to be facilitated through selection of consistent and compatible learning design, and media or delivery system.
  5. Assessment of learning needs to be timely, appropriate and responsive to the needs of the learner.

Suggested Activities

  • Discussion groups
  • Work with sample materials of assessment for evaluation
  • Practical work on allocation of time for assessment using a Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes
  • Write an assessment piece for a part of a course.

Module.png Assessment in ODL 

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