Office for Digital Learning

Assessment and Feedback

Digital summative assessment

Posted on: 30 Apr 2016

Summative assessment provides students with a grade and feedback at the end of a section of study, leading to certification and progression. There is an increase in the use of digital technologies for high-stakes summative assessment. This section focuses on online paper submission, grading and management of summative assessment and the policies relating to this at Ulster.

The online summative assessment cycle involves the tutor setting up an online assignment; student submitting an assignment; the tutor viewing, providing feedback, annotating and grading the assignment; and the student viewing the grade and feedback.

At Ulster, the tutor begins by setting up an assignment in the DLE, selecting the required options, such as due date, marks available, etc. A Rubric (assessment grid) can be attached to an assignment, which consists of scaled criteria aligned to the learning outcomes. This can clarify performance for the students and ensure reliable grading standards for the tutor(s). Each assignment creates a column in the Grade Centre for the tutor and a row in My Grades for the student. In the Ulster DLE there are two main tools for online paper assignment – Blackboard Assignments and Turnitin Feedback Studio. Both are similar, however Turnitin also offers originality check functionality.

Students upload assignments via an assignment drop box, with a variety of file types accepted, at a time and location that suits them. This can be achieved using a desktop browser or app, with a record of submission automatically provided. Digital assessment promotes a paper free, environmentally friendly option for managing paper assignments.

Tutors can access, monitor grade and provide feedback on submissions via the Grade Centre or Turnitin Assignment Inbox. They can view individual assessment via the Bb Assignment tool or Turnitin Feedback Studio. Tutors can annotate the online paper (comments, highlight, strikethrough), feedback (general, written, audio, rubric-based), grade and grading notes. This could offer the tutor time efficiencies, by using reusable comments or audio feedback rather than typing comments.

The Turnitin Similarity tool, checks for similarities with a repository of papers nationally, which can help with detecting plagiarism. It can also help students correctly reference and cite materials in their work. Grading can be anonymous so that instructors only see the individual names when the grades are released to the students. This removes grading bias and improves fairness across the cohort. The Bb Assignment tool also offers the option of Delegated Grading, allows the instructor to delegate grading responsibilities to other tutors and then compile and manage this as required to create a final grade.

Students view their grades and feedback via My Grades; each assessment has a row in My Grades. Students can access My Grades from the Global Navigation at top right of DLE. Blackboard doesn’t link directly with the Ulster Examination System that records a student’s summative grade for a course. Tutors can download all grades from the Grade Centre and import this into the Examination System. External Examiners can gain access to the DLE to view evidence of learning, grades and feedback. Ulster recommends that academics retain their own digital archive of online summative assessments as outlines by your School or Faculty. You can download all paper assignments from Grade Centre or the Turnitin Assignment Inbox.

Assignment submission Bb Assignments and Turnitin Feedback Studio can be set up in the DLE to allow for students to submit papers online. Students can upload at a time and place that suits them with a digital receipt of submission. It is environmentally friendly and can ease the administration burden on School/Faculties.
Mark, annotate and provide feedback Bb Assignments and Turnitin Feedback Studio allow for tutors to mark student papers online. They can annotate directly onto the papers and provide feedback (written, audio, rubric-based). A Rubric attached to the assignment helps ensure grading standards and consistency across a cohort. Note, summative feedback can be less useful to a student if they don’t have the opportunity to improve after receiving the feedback.
Anonymous and delegated grading Bb Assignments and Turnitin Feedback Studio provides the option of anonymous marking, which can reduce marking bias. Bb Assignment also provides the option of Delegated Grading, so that marking responsibilities can be delegated and managed by the tutor.
Automatic marking Bb Tests can be used so that students take a multiple-choice quiz with the results being automatically graded in the DLE, leading to a summative mark.
Summative test Bb Tests can be used in an examination environment. This can involve the students in a computer room and given a certain period of time to complete an online quiz in the DLE.
Self and peer assessment Bb Self and Peer Assessment tool provides the opportunity for students to grade and provide feedback on their peers work, with the help of a Rubric, model answers and review questions. The tutor can decide how to use the students grading to make up the final summative grade.
Group submission Student Groups created in the DLE using the Bb Group tool, which can be linked with the Bb Assignment tool to create a Group Assignment submission area (and a range of communication and collaboration tools for the group to use). One group member submits the assignment on behalf of the group. The tutor marks and provides feedback to the group, with each member of the group viewing this via My Grades.
Similarity check and referencing The Turnitin Similarity tool allows students and tutors to check the originality of a student submission in comparison to a national repository of existing papers. Students and tutors can view the details of individual issues identified, e.g. sources of similarity, referencing and citation issues, etc. By analysing this information, the tutor can decide if there is a potential plagiarism issue and act accordingly following School/Faculty guidelines.
Monitor assessments The Needs Grading link to the Grade Centre lists all assignments that needs graded. Smart Views can be set up from the Grade Centre allows the tutor to monitor a particular assessment. The Retention Centre can alert the tutor if grade thresholds aren’t reached, e.g. under 70% in a quiz.
Administration and management The Grade Centre can help with the administration and management of assessment (and the Turnitin Assignment Inbox). The Grade Centre lists the student cohort with individual columns for each assessment. Each assessment can be managed via the Action Menu for each assignment column, e.g. to access submissions, grade, overwrite grades, provide feedback, etc. The assignment column can be hidden using the Action Menu, so that students can’t view it in their My Grades. There is a Total column and the ability to Create Calculated Columns as required. Other capabilities of the Grade Centre include – download assignments, download grades, Filters, Smart Views, Email students, create Reports, etc.
Apps Apps are available to help grade assignments. Turnitin Assignments via the Turnitin app and Bb Assignments via the Instructor app. This allow for grading and feedback via a handheld device that syncs with the Grade Centre.