Low Resolution-Often Repeated/alx

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Low Resolution-Often Repeated
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

Rather than a few high risk assessments in a course, use many low impact measures that accumulate.

Your students work on a larger task or project that lasts over a longer period. This task or project is either done individually or in groups and needs to be graded.


Students have bad days and good days. They even get sick.

Students aren’t perfect and many need time and guidance to succeed.

Early warning of student difficulties is helpful to both you and the student.

High resolution assessments at the end of a task or project require a lot of time if many aspects need to be covered. There is high risk to the students if they have no chance to improve their work based on the feedback if it is given once at the end of the task or project.


Therefore: do low resolution assessments during the task or project and repeat these often and regularly, hereby offering the students the possibility to improve their work based on the assessment results.

These low resolution assessments can be informal or formal. Informal assessment could be that you ask the student/s to describe briefly the status of their project and provide feedback on this including giving an indication if they are on track or have to improve. A more formal setting could require them to officially deliver some project artefacts which are assessed and given feedback on.

Such assessments are mainly formative, helping the students with their learning. They can have an optional summative aspect, if the accumulated low resolution grades become part of (or even form) the total grade. In case of having a summative component, the assessments should get a more formal character.

You may expect:Students can Fail Fast (Fail Fast) and therefore correct their failures early. Early failures often are of less impact on the final result. Such regular assessments also help to Assess in a Timely Manner (Assess in a Timely Manner).

Low resolution assessments are easier to design and to apply, as they don’t need to be very precise. This especially holds for formative assessments.

If used in a formative way, then all sub-grades are of lower impact on the total and therefore the students have a higher chance to repair or compensate some lower results.

However: It is harder to differentiate between good and very good (and nearly passed and not very good), so that students can get the idea that they are doing very well (or not good at all) because of the result of the low resolution assessment.

If applied too often and/or the feedback in the assessment is too detailed, then there is a chance that students change their working style to “feedback-driven”: they just do something and then wait until the next assessment where they get the information what they need to do differently or have to improve.


Grade intermediate project deliverables as they are created, but with a broad measure.

Make a note of progress when a student visits you in office, or even in the elevator. Give them appropriate feedback on the current state and the next steps, of course.

Related Patterns

Grade It Again, Sam (Grade It Again, Sam)


  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.