Advice for Choosing Alternative Assessments


DCU has issued a set of guiding principles to inform the development and approval of alternative assessments. The authors unpack these principles here and link them to a set of actions to guide the choice of alternative assessments in the immediate term.

Benefit of this resource and how to make the best use of it

The overriding concern and key principle underpinning all tests and assessments is that the inferences based on students’ performance are valid. Validity refers to the accuracy of the inferences and descriptions of performance (e.g. First Class Honours; Second Class Honours, Grade l; Second Class Honours, Grade ll; Third Class Honours). Of course assessments must also be reliable. Reliability refers to the consistency of the information we are using to make decisions about our students. The extent to which different graders are applying the same criteria to judge a performance is an example. However, we need to remember that some assessments can be consistently inaccurate. In other words, an assessment can be reliable but lead to decisions with low validity. The resource presents some reflective questions around assessment practice and format. Please remember that even during normal testing times there is no such thing as a perfect assessment and these questions are not meant to overwhelm. All that is required of anyone is that we do our best. Please let your colleagues know about this document if you think it will be helpful to them. There are additional assessment related resources on the CARPE and NIDL websites you might like to consult.

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