Online Assessment in Higher Education: A Systematic Review




Online assessment, feedback, systematic review, formative assessment, summative assessment, learning analytics


Online assessment is defined as a systematic method of gathering information about a learner and learning processes to draw inferences about the learner’s dispositions. Online assessments provide opportunities for meaningful feedback and interactive support for learners as well as possible influences on the engagement of learners and learning outcomes. The purpose of this systematic literature review is to identify and synthesize original research studies focusing on online assessments in higher education. Out of an initial set of 4,290 publications, a final sample of 114 key publications was identified, according to predefined inclusion criteria. The synthesis yielded four main categories of online assessment modes: peer, teacher, automated, and self-assessment. The synthesis of findings supports the assumption that online assessments have promising potential in supporting and improving online learning processes and outcomes. A summary of success factors for implementing online assessments includes instructional support as well as clear-defined assessment criteria. Future research may focus on online assessments harnessing formative and summative data from stakeholders and learning environments to facilitate learning processes in real-time and help decision-makers to improve learning environments, i.e., analytics-


(*) indicates publications included in the systematic review.

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Systematic Reviews of Research on Online Learning