Assessment Variety/alx

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Assessment Variety
Contributors Joseph Bergin, Christian Kohls, Christian Köppe, Yishay Mor, Michel Portier, Till Schümmer, Steven Warburton
Last modification June 5, 2017
Source Bergin et al. (2016)[1]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

Also Known As: Assessment Pool (Assessment Pool), Assessment Diversity (Assessment Diversity)

Use a variety of assessment techniques in each course module to account for different learning modalities and to increase the richness of student experience.

You are designing the assessment structure for a new course.


All students are different.

Some students are better test takers and some are better writers, speakers, …

Students need to learn to express themselves in a variety of ways.

Some students may be particularly weak on some assessment instruments independent of their learning. If every such measurement uses that mode they will do poorly overall, even with good learning.


Therefore use a variety of assessment vehicles within the course. Don’t depend on just exams. You can evaluate project work, writings, presentations, etc. Even within exams, use a variety of question types.

Almost any variety here is good. Flash Quizzes, Tallying participation, peer review along with formal exams as required. Use Your Choice,My Choice (Your Choice,My Choice) to make sure that the activities cover all the aspects that you want. Each measurement should add a small contribution on the overall assessment of the student. Let grades be determined by the overall performance.

You may expect: You will tend to assure that if a student is somehow disadvantaged by a particular assessment method it will have little impact on overall performance measurement.

However: This takes a lot of thought and exploration, of course, but otherwise there are few negatives consequences for the students: the risk of being confused by the options and make a less appropriate choice than an experienced teacher. There is indeed more work for the teacher both in preparing and supporting the assessments.


You can let students choose between different methods such as iteratively grading a project as it is develop, writing exams at the end or make an oral presentation of the project.

In a course on computer ethics (led by one of the authors) students can skip 50% of the written exam and incorporate the grades of previously written essays. In another course students are graded based on a presentation – if the students feel not good about their presentation they can also submit a written essay to improve the grade.

Related Patterns

—Used by Constructive Alignment (Constructive Alignment)

Reduce Risk (Reduce Risk)

Kinds of Exam (Kinds of Exam)


  1. Bergin, J., Kohls, C., Köppe, C., Mor, Y., Portier, M., Schümmer, T., & Warburton, S. (2016). Student's choice of assessment. In Proceedings of the 21st European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2016) (p. 22). New York:ACM.