There was an excellent piece in The Conversation a week or so ago written by Beverley Oliver (@DVCEdDeakin) entitled, Proving knowledge by degrees: MOOCs and the challenge of assessment. The reference to MOOCs in the title is a useful device for attracting attention, but the content of the article focuses on the quality of assessment design, and has broader applicability beyond the context of MOOCs.
The design of assessment tasks is critical to the creation of authentic learning environments. Student engagement and the deep learning that ensues, is far more likely if students can see the point of what they doing (see, for example, Lizzio & Wilson, 2013). As Professor Oliver notes:
Perhaps instead of focusing on how we test students, a more purposeful question might be: presuming we know what outcomes we need students to achieve, and at what standard, what evidence will enable us to judge that this student is ready to graduate? In other words, assessment tasks are opportunities for students to create evidence of learning achievements in an array of formats.
In other words, if we look upon assessment as learning, rather than of learning, the approach taken by the learner (and faculty) takes on a completely different complexion, as Dr Adele Flood describes in this video clip.