This section provides an overview on delivering and managing your course assessments using pedagogical best practices with technologies supported by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Learning Innovation

Need some more inspiration for mapping out your course assessment strategy? Visit the Guide on Course Design for guidance and resources on how to plan and design your course assessments based on your overall course learning outcomes.

Common assessment tools at Duke

There are several Duke-supported technology tools that can be used to create, manage and administer an assessment. The table below outlines the most common tools available for four primary assessment types: Writing assignments, technical assignments, peer evaluation and tests and quizzes. 

writing assignmentstechnical assignmentssurveys & pollstests & quizzes
Sakai Assignment ToolCheckmarkCheckmark
Sakai Tests & Quizzes ToolCheckmark

Using the Sakai Assignments Tool

Take advantage of the grading options of Sakai assignments. The Assignments tool allows instructors to create, distribute, collect and grade online assignments. Assignments may be submitted via file upload or in-line using the Rich Text Editor, depending on your preference. Grades in Sakai assignments are sent directly to the Gradebook. You can also make written and audio comments on student work when grading. The Assignments tool in Sakai offers several additional grading options:

  • Writing assignments can be graded and then returned for resubmission. 
  • Assignments can be set up as group submissions.
  • Assignments can include a rubric that outlines your evaluation criteria. 
  • Students can peer review assignments. 

> Assignments in Sakai (video)
> How do I grade assignments in Sakai?
> How do I add a rubric to an assignment in Sakai? 
> How do I enable student peer review for an assignment in Sakai?

Using the Sakai Tests & Quizzes Tool

Vary question types in Sakai Tests and Quizzes. The Tests & Quizzes tool in Sakai offers a variety of question types for your assessment. For more information detailing the advantages and disadvantages of the most common question types, check out these Best Practices for Designing and Grading Assessments (University of Michigan).

question typesdescription
Multiple ChoiceA multiple choice question in an assessment provides pre-written choices from which the student will select.
MatchingThis question type allows the student to create a numbered list of choices and a corresponding drop-down list of matches.
True/FalseStudents choose either ‘true’ or ‘false’ in response to a question.
Short Answer/EssayThis question type presents students with a question followed by a text box in which they enter the answer. This type of question must be manually graded.
Fill-in-the-BlankThis question type presents students with a question followed by a text box in which they enter the answer; each student’s answer is compared to a list of allowed answers.
Numeric ResponseThis question type presents students with a question followed by a text box in which they enter a numeric answer; each student’s answer is compared to a list of allowed answers.
Calculated QuestionA calculated question calculates new answers for every test, based on variables whose value changes each time. The answer is based on a formula using those variables.
Hot SpotThis question type presents an image and students identify a specific area of that image as their answer.

> How do I create a new question (with the assessment builder) in Sakai?
> Common Question Types in Tests and Quizzes in Sakai (video)
> Using Markup Test to Create a Test or Quiz in Sakai (video)
> How do I help students avoid problems when taking online tests?
> Student-Facing Documentation on Avoiding Problems with Sakai Tests & Quizzes

Using Gradescope

Create and grade assignments and tests quickly in Gradescope. Gradescope is a tool designed to speed up your grading workflow and to provide better feedback to students. With Gradescope, you can:

  • Scan in and grade paper-based homework or tests, including bubble sheet style tests.
  • Upload and grade electronic-based assignments (e.g., short essays, photographs, etc.) and hand-written work (e.g., problem sets, drawings, graphs, etc.).
  • Grade short quantitative answers by group to speed the grading process using built-in AI.
  • Design a custom rubric for more consistent grading between students on subjective assignments (this is particularly important when using multiple graders).
  • Build an auto-grader for programming assignments.
  • Grade assignments without seeing student names.
  • Integrate with Sakai to allow grades to easily populate the Sakai Gradebook.

> Getting Started with Gradescope
> Using Gradescope at Duke
> What assignment types are supported by Gradescope?

Using PlayPosit

Make interactive videos with PlayPosit. Using PlayPosit you can create and share interactive video lessons in your Sakai course site, Sites@Duke or any online location of your choice via an embed code. There are several different types of interactions and question types available for your in-video quiz including multiple choice, free response, polling and a reflective pause. You can also see students’ answers and access valuable analytics for how often students view each PlayPosit video.

> Playposit Quickstart Guide
> Add a PlayPosit bulb to Lessons in Sakai (video)
> Three Useful PlayPosit Features for Interactive Course Videos
(Duke University)

Using Gitlab

Design technical assignments using Gitlab. Gitlab is a git-based version control service provided by the Office of Information Technology (OIT). With Gitlab, you can:

  • Create, iterate, submit and provide feedback on student work
  • Create issues, kanban boards and sprints to organize, manage and track student assignments as projects

> Gitlab at Duke 
> Gitlab Help

Using Qualtrics

Survey students to learn more about them. Qualtrics is a survey tool that you can use to poll students throughout the semester. Common goals for these surveys include assessing students’ previous knowledge, evaluating the course at midterms and learning about student skills for group formation. 

Incorporate peer evaluation in assessments. Peer evaluation gives students an opportunity to learn how to critically reflect and provide constructive feedback. Here are some tips for facilitating peer evaluation for student work: 

  • Use a feedback rubric to give reviewers structure and consistency in the review process.
  • Have students review others’ work anonymously to minimize any potential bias.
  • Remind students that peer review should be appropriate, constructive, kind and specific. 

> Qualtrics at Duke
> Using Qualtrics for Peer Evaluation (Duke University)
> How Am I Doing? Collect Mid-Term Feedback to Measure Teaching Effectiveness

Using Box

Consider using Box for feedback on written assignments. You can use Box to collect students’ writing and add feedback either by editing or adding Word documents or Box notes. It is a more secure alternative to Google Drive and serves as a portfolio of students’ writing throughout the semester.

> Box at Duke