• Bridget D. Arend



Course Assessment, Summative Assessment, Formative Assessment, Learning Strategies, Critical Thinking


Perhaps the most promising and understudied aspect of online education is course assessment. Course assessment is important because it has a strong impact on learning and is an indicator of the quality of learning occurring in a class. In the online environment, methods of assessment can be very different. However, the online education literature is currently lacking empirical data about the general status of assessment practices or how those practices relate to student learning. This article lays the groundwork for future studies by providing a description of formative and summative assessment and learning strategies in 60 online courses and suggesting some ways that assessment practices lead to different types of learning. In this study, instructors appear to follow effective practice by using multiple and alternative
assessment methods, dispersing grades over time, and providing timely and frequent feedback to students. Students report focusing on relatively more complex learning strategies, such as elaboration and critical thinking over rehearsal. However, online instructors need to ensure that assessments are used strategically and that feedback is productive and able to be acted upon by students.


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Empirical Studies