The following section outlines how to ensure clarity in your assessment tasks.
Ensuring clarity in assessment tasks
It is important to ensure that assessment tasks are clear and understandable by students. The lack of clear instructions or guidelines on assessment tasks is the most common student feedback received from student evaluation forms at Monash.
Format of the task
While the content of an assessment task is vital, its format also influences the readability and clarity of the task. Designing an assessment that is laid out carefully, with a clear structure and subheadings to organise the information ensure the design helps clarify the task. Keep all relevant information to just one section; students should not have to flip between sections or pages to find information about, for example, submission processes.
Consider the audience
All assessment tasks should be written for the appropriate year level; first year tasks may look quite different to those at postgraduate level. You may need to be more instructive at earlier year levels as well to ensure students develop the appropriate skills of navigating assessment at university level.
Language and accessibility
Consider the language you are using to explain your assessment tasks; is it understandable to a wide range of learners? Does it contain jargon that only certain groups may understand? Further, avoid complexity in your assessment tasks to ensure they are accessible: multi-part assignments can often confuse learners, especially if the different parts have different requirements or due dates.
Ensuring quality of assessment tasks
As well as ensuring clarity in the writing of assessment tasks, it is also important to ensure that your assessment tasks are written with quality in mind. Quality assessment also minimises student confusion about what is expected in the task.
- Use the following questions to do a quick quality check of your assessments before releasing them to students: Does the assessment task align with the relevant content and learning outcomes?
- Does the assessment promote engagement, and deep approaches to learning?
- Is the assessment relevant to the real-world / does it replicate expectations in the workplace?
- Does the value of the task reflect sustained student involvement and effort over time?
- Does this assessment create opportunities for dialogic interaction and feedback between educators and students, or between students? .
See Carless (2015) for more information about ensuring quality in your assessments.
Watch Dr Jess Co discuss how she uses group work and peer evaluation with students for case studies in an online format.
Watch A/Prof Nick McGuigan (Accounting) and Prof Ros Gleadow (Biology) talk about their unique approaches to assessment design for their units with work-integrated learning experiences.