Forms of Assessment and Feedback for Online Classes

Forms of Assessment and Feedback

Formative assessment is intended to provide the instructor and student input on how well the student understands a concept as the course is progressing. The instructor can then decide to re-teach or assign additional practice until the student masters the concept. Formative assessments happen during the teaching process.

Summative assessment is intended to evaluate how well the student has mastered all concepts covered in a unit or course. Summative assessment happens at the end of a unit or course.

Feedback can be given to the student after the assessment process. Many online programs and tools can provide immediate feedback.


Formative assessment can be achieved in the TechSmith Relay/Knowmia video hosting and storage service. The Quizzing feature allows the instructor to add multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false and free response questions to the timeline of a video. Instructors can use this at the end of individual lecture videos to determine if students understand the main points of the lecture.

The Quizzing feature in Canvas Instructure LMS can be used to create small quizzes at the end of a module or longer exams at the end of a unit or semester. There are 12 different question formats from multiple choice to essay to fill in the blank to file upload. An instructor can use this tool as a formative or summative assessment.

Both Knowmia and Canvas Quizzes can provide the student with immediate feedback. Knowmia can be programmed to give feedback if an answer is correct or incorrect. Canvas Quizzes can give programmed feedback for answers that are correct, incorrect, for specific answer choices and general comments after the questions is answered.

Programmed feedback is very useful for practice quizzes.

Statistical Tools

Statistical tools in some online class services and platforms can help you determine if you are authentically assessing your student’s knowledge.

These tools often provide a breakdown of how many students correctly answered a question, how many students chose which answers, item analysis and student analysis with metrics like variance and standard deviation.

Knowmia also provides the average percentage of video watched in conjunction with the average number of students who correctly answered the question.

This information can help the instructor craft a more clearly written question that authentically evaluates student knowledge.


Rubrics are another form of assessment that is useful. Rubrics can be attached to Discussion Forums, Quizzes and Assignments in many online class platforms. In Canvas, users can manage and create rubrics in the Outcomes tab.

Rubrics are useful, because they clearly explain the stages of performance by which the learner is being graded. The learner can read the criteria of what a sub-par performance looks like and an excellent performance looks like. This allows them to self-assess and know which steps to take to improve their performance.

Mastery Paths are a form of assessment in Canvas Quizzes that can allow the quiz to be replaced by the completion of specific assignments. Automatic grading can happen if the created assignments are ones that are automatically graded. Mastery paths tell the LMS that the completion of specific assignments in conjunction with others will earn the learner a set number of points. It can also tell the LMS that some assignments can be used in place of another.