Training Educators to Design and Develop ODL Materials/Types of Assessment in ODL/Content4

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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



As noted already, assignments play a critical role in ODL, they are one way in which both the learner and the tutor can assess whether learning is taking place. Tutor-marked assignments represent the assessment tasks which the tutor is responsible for responding to and therefore give detailed feedback to the learners. It is very important that these kind of tasks are well planned so that they can achieve the objective they are designed to achieve.For example, what are the purposes of the assignments, how are the marking guides prepared, how far can we say model answers are enough or not.

  • Purposes of tutor-marked assignment
    • provide detailed and personalised feedback: this is one way in which we provide learner support to that student who is at a distance. While in the f2f situation a learner will see tutor and be able to have an exchange with her/him and also even read the body language, the distance learner will only get the feedback on the assignment. Tutor has to provide in detail and in a personalised manner all feedback on the learners work. Learner should not be left in any doubt of what the standard expectation was.This feedback is also the critical form of dialoque between the learner and the tutor.
    • identify the most important parts:usually the assignments that a tutor asks and require to mark will be of information regarded as critical to the course or learning process a learner is engaged in. Learners therefore will know that information being given in the form of assignments is important.
    • Supplement the course work: yes most of the time the marked assignment is also going to be part of the continuous assessment required for the overall assessment of the learner in the :course.The importance of this work therefore, from both the part of tutor and the learner cannot be overemphasised.
    • assess how a course can be improved,student comfort with programme material, appropriateness of assignments, clarity of course content,effectiveness of learner support strategies etc.

Guidelines for preparing questions

Before preparing the questions, students should be fully informed about the criteria, content, and methods of each assessment and when possible, examples should be provided. The following are the guidelines that may be followed when preparing tutor-marked questions
  • Tasks given as assignment should be clear,to ensure that the distance learner understands exactly what is required of him/her
  • Tasks should be from a broad area of coverage to ensure that each of the learners is able to respond to at least an area
  • Ensure that tasks come from area that has been adequately covered
  • Just like in the preparation of objectives, tasks should make use of active verbs to ensure that learners know what they are expected to do.
For each assessment you create, ask
  • is it relevant to the unit’s stated objectives?
  • is the purpose clear?
  • is the wording/structure clear?
  • are the tests manageable?

Find examples of sample questions and scoring guidelines

Feedback on Assessments

Students should be able to assess the adequacy of their responses to assessment exercises. Students need:
  • to know how the right answer was reached
  • information on their own performance, particularly where they may have gone wrong
  • a clear picture of what they should do next; in what order
  • confidence in assessing their own performance and thus becoming more self-directed in their learning

Marking Guides

You will find that marking guides may vary depending on the facilitator. However, two concepts are of primary importance - CONTENT and FORM

You may search the following page for information related to

marking guides

marking assignments electronically

Model answers

See Model answers for samples.

Module.png Assessment in ODL 

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