Student Assessment

Students at Middlebury are assessed in a number of ways including formative and summative examinations, presentations, website and writing assignments, research papers, lab reports, projects and participation in discussions both in class and online.

Most faculty formally assess students by means of in-class or take-home examinations, though a growing number of programs of study have created online examinations.  Many Language Schools have created online placement and entrance exams, as well as exit exams.

Most  online exams at Middlebury are created using Measure, an instance of Moodle customized for use at Middlebury.  In particular, Moodle has been configured with only the quiz and wiki modules enabled.  Custom themes have been created which redesign Moodle’s layout and appearance so that its user interface more closely resembles that of Segue and WordPress as part of our effort to create a more unified curricular technology user experience across a range of platforms.  Finally, Moodle’s has been configured to use LDAP to authenticate Midd users and non-Midd user account creation has been customized to use email addresses for usernames.

Within assessments created using Measure/Moodle, multiple choice and cloze (i.e. fill-in-the-blank) type questions are most common since the answer choices for these types of questions can be assigned specific point values allowing student answers to be automatically graded.  Many Language School placement exams also include an essay question that allows for student writing skills to be evaluated.  Other online exam features of Measure that are commonly used include options for:

  • activation dates
  • time limit
  • number of attempts

A number of online exams include questions that include media files.  Some programs of study have created exams that require students to identify images, others have included audio that students need to listen to to answer questions.  Some language study programs are interested in developing assessments that require students to answer questions oral via a web-based recording interface.

Entrance and Exit Exams and Adaptive Assessment

The use of online exams by some Language Schools to evaluate progress in their programs of study introduce some important requirements for assessment tools.  Essentially, entrance and exit exams need to measure the same knowledge in different ways.  These exams require a bank of questions that is categorized by level of difficulty that faculty can draw on to create multiple versions of the same exam.

An alternative to multiple versions of a given exam is an adaptive assessment tool that choses questions randomly from a question bank to generate a unique exam for every student.  The Chinese School has developed such an exam (see: Computer Adaptive Test for Reading Chinese).  It may be possible to adapt the Chinese School exam to work more generally for other assessment needs that require multiple versions of a given exam or the creation of assessments that automatically sequence questions for students based on specific pre and post requisites and advancement criteria.

Measure (a.k.a. Moodle) Usage Statistics

Usage Statistics as of 7/15/2010
Sites 30
Assessments 23
Registered Users 5,378

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