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Online Assessment Tips


Best Practice Strategies


  • Use tests as a teaching tool
  • Look at tests in a new way
  • Test frequently
  • Give feedback

“In online teaching, the role of an instructor often shifts toward guide and mentor. By using online assessments, you have the opportunity to use a test as a teaching tool, rather than purely as an evaluation mechanism.

Traditionally, assessments measure knowledge at a specific point in time. However, assessments can be used as tools to improve subsequent learning.

Pre-tests provide a snapshot of students’ current understanding of a topic and prime them for receiving new knowledge. Students can derive personal satisfaction by comparing their pre-test scores with a post-test score. Tests that allow students more than one attempt provide opportunities for relearning and reassessment. Instructions can improve retention and comprehension by providing students with answer feedback and special assignments between test attempts.

Frequent tests not only assess what students know, but also enhance later retention, a phenomenon known as the testing effect. Frequent tests give students the motivation to study at regular intervals during the semester, which results in better long-term retention than cramming. Frequent opportunities for students to test their knowledge can be especially effective in an online course. Inform students they will be tested often with less emphasis placed on the grades obtained and more emphasis on the learning process.

Students often state they need timely and high-quality interaction with their instructors. One efficient way to accomplish this interaction is by creating feedback for online test questions. While the score itself is feedback, students will find your comments valuable. In Blackboard Learn, you can provide automatic feedback for each answer, such as:

  • Praise for correct answers.
  • Reasons why an answer is incorrect—a teachable moment.
  • References to textbook pages or online course content to help students learn the material for incorrect answers.
  • Appropriate humor.

By developing a testing strategy that uses frequent opportunities for students to test themselves, feedback for learning, and an emphasis on long-term retention, you may see improved student outcomes.”

  • Awareness
  • Test construction
  • Technology

 “Instructors are often concerned about academic honesty when considering online assessment. While you may not be able to prevent cheating completely, you can take steps to minimize it.

  • Have students sign an academic integrity policy that defines cheating and outlines expectations for honesty.
  • Use email or chat to verify the level of a student’s test content knowledge after an unexpectedly good performance.
  • Limit both duration of the test’s availability and time limit for taking it.
  • Randomize the order in which the questions appear and the order of each question’s answers.
  • Provide a different test for those taking the test late.
  • Use a test as a learning tool, rather than as a measure of fact recall. Allow students more than one attempt with the intent they will return to the course content to learn what they missed the first time. Create a follow-up assignment requiring them to demonstrate knowledge in areas not mastered at the time of the test.
  • Pair online objective tests with subjective measures, such as writing assignments, projects, applied problems, and group work.
  • Administer tests in a proctored location, if possible.
  • If you suspect two students of collaborating on tests, compare the times the tests were taken, and their answers and grades.”

Ongoing Support 

For pedagogical online assessment support, contact the TCTC Office of Academic Development 

Hours of Operation: Monday - Thursday: 8am to 5pm, Friday: 8am to 2pm

Telephone: 864-646-1834


For technical online assessment support, contact the TCTC IT Service Desk.

Hours of Operation: Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - 5pm, Friday: 7:30am to 2pm 

Telephone: 864-646-1779