How Do I Assess Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

This post is provided by guest blogger, Sue Dumford, graduate student at the University of St Francis in Joliet, MS in Training and Development program.

“O this learning, what a thing it is!William Shakespeare

Many students may not always show the same enthusiasm when it comes to learning, especially when it comes to daunting comprehensive examinations. In her article, Learner Assessment in Online Courses: Best Practices & More, Anthea Papadopoulou (2019)reminds us that there are alternatives to traditional testing and provides advice on how to best formulate effective assessments and provide the best online learning experience for our students. The author reminds us of the importance of creative alternative and formative assessments, feedback from both student and instructor, rubrics that clearly define our expectations and allow for self-assessment, and the importance of Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives.

In this article Ms Popadopoulou (and yes, that is a fantastic name!) describes alternatives to the old stogy all-encompassing midterm and year end assessments that often measured memorization rather than evaluated the understanding and application of knowledge. In simple clear writing she provides us with guidance that will move us towards true evaluation of our students’ abilities to meet our learning objectives. Although she does not totally eschew the practice of summative exams, she does recommend a more holistic approach that encourages us to utilize creative alternatives to ensure comprehensive understanding and the ability of our students to apply what have learned. Perhaps With Ms Popadopoulou’s sage advice we will no longer claim that our students “…have been at a great feast of learning, and stolen the scraps,” but herald their achievements as they exclaim, “O this learning, what a thing it is!” – William Shakespeare

Papadopoulou, A. (2 April, 2019). Learner assessment in online courses: Best practices & more. Retrieved from

William Shakespeare quotes on learning. (n.d.) Retrieved from

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