Towards a Post Covid-19 Digital Authentic Assessment Practice: When Radical Changes Enhance the Student Experience

Stylianos Hatzipanagos
Centre for Distance Education, University of London

Alan Tait
Centre for Distance Education, University of London

Linda Amrane-Cooper
Centre for Distance Education, University of London


In 2020, the Higher Education sector, in the UK and internationally, had to move to online assessment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, at a speed and scale which might have been unimaginable under normal circumstances. By upscaling and accelerating the adoption of digital assessment practices in distance and online education across the world, educators had to rethink assessment processes to make sure they were an integral part of the authentic digital life experience for students and staff. As these changes appear to be far from temporary, they have accelerated the transition to a “new normal” regime of assessing students online for the foreseeable future. The priority in the sector is that fundamental principles of assessment including integrity and authenticity are supported in the design and implementation of assessments. In addition ensuring that no student is disadvantaged in accessing digital learning opportunities, when they are assessed. The paper discusses a project that collected data about three final assessment routes students have taken. The aim was to generate understanding of this transition to online assessment, primarily from the perspective of the experience of the students who have been affected. Our findings explore student agreement with this transition to online assessment and provide an opportunity to understand student approaches to assessment and what they would like to see in future assessments. Finally we explore the implications for practice in distance learning and campus based environments and for the sector.

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