Use a forum as an assessment

Benefits of using Forums as an assessment tool

Forums allow for a shared space where students may have discussions with each other, answer questions related to the content and engage with one another to foster collaboration and peer to peer interaction. Forums give students the ability to compare answers with their peers, answer each other's questions, providing transparency for students. You can also monitor forums for common misconceptions.

Types of forum assessments

There are a number of ways forums may be used as an assessment tool.


Students provide their reflections on a discussion thread, concept covered in the unit, or a reflection on another assessment task. You could use a few different options such as each person posts one discussion, a single simple discussion or standard forum displayed in a blog-like format.

Small group discussion

Students in small groups discuss a project or concept in a unit. Assess students' contributions and replies. Use a Standard forum for general use or A single simple discussion.

Role play discussion

Students adopt a specific role that they first need to research and provide feedback in a discussion post. Use a Standard forum for general use.

Case study

Students read or create a case study individually or as a group and use the forum space for them to discuss their analysis of this. It would be helpful to provide prompt questions. Use A single simple discussion or Standard forum for general use.

Question and answer

Set up open ended questions where you want students to provide their answers. Once the answer is posted, they can see other’s responses to compare their answers. Use the Q and A forum.

Peer assessment

Assign a student or a group of students to a specific discussion thread to provide feedback on the student’s work. For example, you could get students to present a video they created and have students provide feedback based on a set of marking criteria or a rubric.  By using a Q and A forum, students would post their work without seeing others postings, then have students rate the work and/or reply with their feedback.

Decide how you will evaluate the post

Forums may be used as a non graded activity type to encourage discussion or may also be graded based on a number of criteria or marking rubric. Forums can also be graded on student participation and engagement. Think of using a blend of the aforementioned to ensure students are equitably assessed.

Peer evaluation

Decide whether you will have students rate each other's posts and what criteria should students use to rate. You would need to use the rating option in Moodle. By default, the ratings option is turned off in Moodle for students. Therefore, if you want students to be able to rate each other’s posts, you would need to provide them with access.

Follow the instructions Set up grading for using ratings.

Number of posts

What is the minimum number of posts or replies that students need to make per assessed activity. Set the number of posts, discussions and replies in the activity completion in the Forums settings.

Quality of the posts

What is the minimum number of words to be used or if there are specific concepts that need to be addressed. A marking rubric would be helpful to guide students.

Level of engagement

This ties to the number and quality but also to how students are engaging with the posts and providing feedback. Are students answering others questions, are they providing thoughtful and constructive comments? You may track this by adjusting the activity completion settings and by monitoring the posts.


Set a deadline for when you want posts to be submitted.

Other Considerations

There are a number of considerations when choosing to use a Forum as an assessment tool.