The Challenge of Assessment

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
National University of Ireland Galway

Primary Contact
Dr. Michelle Tooher

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


The COVID-19 crisis, in forcing most teaching to an online mode, has not only presented challenges in assessing online, but has also exposed some of the underlying limitations of many current assessment practices in higher education (including the extent to which there is alignment with learning outcomes and programme goals). One of the principal concerns, also, for many, during this period has centred on the academic integrity of the assessment processes being used.

Without doubt the rapid pivot to online teaching and assessment led to innovation and change, with many seizing the opportunity to think differently in terms of the technologies used to support learning or in developing new types of assessments adapted to suit the new circumstances.

This initiative will take a pragmatic approach to assessment reform within the institution, combining policy change, professional development, and reform and innovation at the level of the discipline and within programmes. This work will involve partnership with academic colleagues, students, and with the QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland).

We will address 4 interrelated themes:
• Academic Integrity
• Assessment and Feedback
• Programme focused assessment
• Authentic Assessment

Outcomes will include: better understanding of the range of potential approaches to assessment; embedding of assessment into course design; more use of authentic assessment and effective, empowering approaches to feedback; refreshed policy and guidelines; CPD materials and workshops (including a badged online course).
Use will be made of the wide range of existing materials and literature on these topics, adapted to suit the particular needs of disciplines, programme teams, and schools.