21st Century Assessment Strategies

Twenty-first century assessment differs from traditional assessment strategies because of its focus on formative rather than summative assessment. Formative assessment is the process of using assessment or feedback for the purpose of improving learning and helping students become independent learners.
An essential element of formative assessment or assessment for learning, is that students are provided with timely and ongoing feedback. The goal of providing timely feedback is to reduce the gap between a student’s current level of knowledge and skills and the desired learning goal (Davies, 2005). Consequently, because formative assessment needs to occur frequently and be integrated into the instructional process, it is essential that teachers have the necessary tools to ensure that the assessment and feedback process can take place in an efficient and effective manner without being overly burdensome.


When students are actively engaged in the formative assessment process and have an opportunity to self-assess their work or determine the degree to which they have fulfilled a specific learning goal, their ability to self-regulate their learning and behavior is enhanced (Harlen and Deakin-Crick, 2004). Thus, tools that allow students to participate in the formative assessment process can be effective in enhancing self-regulation, critical reflection and student engagement. These skills are essential to the development of independent, 21st century learners.

Twenty-first century assessment strategies emphasize the importance of capturing learning activities that support higher-order thinking, are authentic in nature and are aligned with real world tasks. These types of tasks often result in learning products that are three dimensional in nature and difficult to capture with simple pen and paper tests. While there are a number of assessment tools that use photographs or videos to document learning, few of these resources allow for the provision of detailed or standards-aligned feedback and assessment.

21st Century Assessment Resources

The following resources can be used to implement a variety of 21st century assessment strategies by using technology to move beyond simply documenting the end result of student learning and instead use the latest innovations to support the learning process by facilitating assessment for learning and assessment as learning.

Using Online Videos to Enhance Instructor Presence & Feedback

        Research indicates that instructor presence has an impact on students’ success in online learning (Bliss and Lawrence, 2009; Garrison and Cleveland-Innes, 2005; Garrison, Cleveland-Innes and Fung, 2010; Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin, and Chang, 2003; Varnhagen, Wilson, Krupa, Kasprzak, and Hunting, 2005 and Hiltz).  Since instructor presence can be an important predictor of online learning success (Baker 2004) and student satisfaction (Arbaugh, et al., 2009) it is vital that online instructors find effective and efficient ways to use the available technology resources to enhance online instructor presence

        Instead of simply being a faceless figure that periodically interject comments and grades into an online learning environment, instructor-created videos can be an effective and efficient way to connect with students, provide information and feedback and most importantly, share your passion and excitement for the teaching and learning process.  
   Being able to easily and quickly create online videos is a highly efficient way to provide detailed and complex information to learners. This is important because a high degree of clarity and communication has been demonstrated as being essential for online student satisfaction and success. Consequently, the immediacy of instructor feedback directly contributes to student learning and overall course satisfaction

       Listed below are five different types of instructor created videos. Each fulfills a different instructional function, while also serving to enhance instructor presence

1. Welcome video: This is an essential way to provide students with an introduction to the course format and content, while welcoming them to the learning environment.
2. Lecture video: An effective way to present course content that is more effective that simply providing slides with text.
3: Weekly update: An important means to establish an ongoing relationship with students and provide timely input and feedback. 
4: Assignment preparation: This is essential to providing students with the information and resources needed to be successful on upcoming assignments. 
5. Assignment feedback: This is an efficient way to provide students with the feedback on the class-wide strengths and weakness on completed assignments. This type of feedback is essential to support ongoing learning and academic growth.

Welcome video example:

Green screen example

ADED 4P97 Welcome Video from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Lecture Video example:


ADED 4P97 Session 1 from C Rutherford on Vimeo.


Weekly Announcement example:


ADED 4P97 Session 3 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Assignment preparation video examples:


ADED 4P97 Case Study Assignment Prep from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

ADED 4P97 Session 10 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

ADED 4P97 Change Plan Prep from C Rutherford on Vimeo.

Assignment feedback video example:


ADED 4P97 Session #9 Announcements from C Rutherford on Vimeo.


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