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Assessment and Curriculum Design: Home

Effective assessment design plays a crucial role in measuring student learning and achievement.

The primary purpose of any assessment is to provide students with feedback on their progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. To achieve these goals, it is essential to align assessment design with the course's learning outcomes and reflect the skills and knowledge that students are expected to acquire.

Some examples of assessment design used in CCT are listed below.

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Assessment Design

The 12 principles of Academic Integrity is a project emanating from the Teaching Enhancement Unit of Dublin City University.  The principles are based on an extensive literature review that explored two questions:

  1. What approaches to assessment design are being used to promote academic integrity?
  2. What recommendations are being made on using assessment design to promote academic integrity?

The outputs of the project which is funded by Erasmus are available on a Creative Commons basis.

The 12 principles

           Institutional Design

  1. Set high academic integrity standards which value the university, programme, and student/graduate reputation.
  2. Provide detailed information and direction on how students might avoid breaches of academic integrity and ensure consistency across a programme team.
  3. Regularly update and edit assessments and programme assessment strategies.

    Assessment Design

  4. Use clear marking criteria and rubrics to reward positive behaviours associated with academic integrity.

  5. Design assessments that motivate and challenge students to do the work for themselves (or in assigned groups and pairs).

  6. Ensure assessments are current, authentic and relevant.

  7. Adopt a scaffolded and integrated assessment strategy across a programme including multiple feedback points throughout the assessment process.

  8. Consider assessment briefs that have open-ended solutions or more than one solution.

    Student Ownership

  9. Include elements for students to record their individual pathways of thinking demonstrating students own work.

  10. Develop assessments which allow students to prepare personalised assessments (either individually or group-based).

  11. Build in a form of questioning or presentation/viva type of defence component.

  12. Co-design assessments or elements of assessment e.g. rubric with students.


Each CCT lecturer should signpost to students the CCT Academic Misconduct Policy which outlines the full range of academic impropriety offences including plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, impersonation, and the purchase of assignments via essay mills.

CCT advocates a preventive approach to academic misconduct utilising assessment design approaches that militate against academic impropriety combined with institutional support initiatives. CCT recommends that faculty:

  • Consult the National Academic Integrity Network's Academic Integrity Guidelines.

  • Engage in authentic and compassionate assessment design/scheduling to underpin a culture of academic integrity.

  • Engage in programme design activities with a focus on integrated assessment to reduce assessment load.

  • Encourage student engagement with CCT's Student Success classes delivered by the Library.

  • Avail of programme-embedded information literacy classes on academic integrity and referencing offered by the CCT Librarian.

  • Encourage student engagement  with the educational functionality of Urkund/Ouriginal software enabling students to obtain feedback on a draft version of their assignment prior to final submission.

  • Encourage participation by students in CCT's Academic Integrity Week.

  • Promote resources and events from Quality and Qualifications of Ireland's National Academic Integrity Network of which CCT is a member.

  • Personalise the assessment - adding context to an assignment by inviting students to draw on their own experience or to select a personally relevant research topic within a theme/specific framework will encourage original work.

  • Harness the research process - requiring students to provide evidence of sources used.

  • Emphasise the value of analysis - designing assessments that move beyond asking students to find the ‘right answer’ to requiring them to analyse, evaluate and synthesise the work of others. 

  • Create a supportive environment - using formative assessment tasks to provide regular feedback and helping students understand that learning from their mistakes is a valuable part of their academic experience.

  • Change elements of the assessment task each year - modifying the assignment or specifying particular types of resources that must be included in the analysis reduces the possibility of submission of a pre-written paper.

  • Require evidence of ongoing individual engagement - adding a meaningful individual component to group work will encourage sustained individual participation in the assessment task.

  • Set sub-tasks that require students to show their process - ensuring that students indicate individual findings, for example, drawing up an annotated bibliography and marshalling the evidence for and against a position.

  • Make assessments manageable - overburdening students with assessments may encourage academic misconduct. Try to break up assessments into steps for clarity and manageability. 

(Spiller, 2014)

The use of authentic assessment can promote academic integrity due to its personalised, constructivist and reflective components. CCT recommends that lecturers incorporate authentic assessment approaches to provide stimulating real-world learning experiences and promote high academic standards.

Authentic assessments have well-designed rubrics. Robust student feedback mechanisms are important. Students may have a choice of assessment activity or may have contributed to the assessment brief.

Assessment activities can include:

  • Reflective learning logs
  • Problem-based learning
  • Simulations
  • E-portfolios
  • Annotated bibliographies
  • Peer assessment and evaluation
  • Self-assessment
  • Group work

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Including the production of an annotated bibliography in an assessment strategy - where feasible - is a simple but effective approach to ascertaining that students have produced their work independently. The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to signpost the relevancy, accuracy, and quality of the sources used. Annotations are descriptive and critical.

The construction of an annotated bibliography involves a number of steps:

1.Locate high-quality information sources. Students are encouraged to use CCT's print and online collections.
2.Cite relevant sources using the referencing style indicated by the lecturer.
3.Write a brief annotation to accompany each citation. An annotation is composed of the following parts: 

  • A summary of the scope, main points, and central theme of the article. What conclusions can be drawn from the article?
  • Information about the authority of the author. What makes them qualified to write about the subject?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the source?
  • How is the source relevant to your topic?


CCT encourages the use of vivas in the following circumstances:

  1. To ascertain if academic impropriety has taken place and inform a possible referral to the CCT Academic Standards Board. In this instance, the lecturer conducts an informal viva with the student to ascertain that their assessment was produced independently.
  2. As a deliberate part of an assessment strategy.
  3. Where a project involves the use of code, students should be encouraged to provide a short audio recording  (no more than two minutes explaining their use of the code). 

More information on vivas can be found here.


Alternative Assessment

In CCT, an online (or Moodle) exam refers to a time-limited assessment that is completed in Moodle at a specific time. Students are required to stay online for the duration of the exam, or until they have submitted their work (if they finish before the end time).

An online exam includes a range of questions typically incorporating long answer and essay questions, but may also include some short answer or multiple-choice questions. The answers are usually entered directly onto the Moodle page.

Online exams are designed to assess students’ higher-order thinking skills and, therefore, questions anticipate students undertaking some research and consulting materials to help construct their answers, which must evidence their ability to interpret, evaluate and apply their findings. Having the information is not enough; students need to know how to use the information to answer questions.


In CCT, an online practical assessment is usually undertaken by students of computing and ICT programmes. It is a form of authentic assessment designed to replicate real work situations or work environments.

Some online practical exams will make use of the virtual lab. Students will be sent tasks or problem-based scenarios that they need to address within a specified time limit. In some instances, these are randomly allocated.

Online practical exams can be conducted on campus or remotely and are designed to encourage the student to undertake research and investigate the task or problem at hand, as they would in a real work scenario.

An open book exam is an examination that permits a student to have varying degrees of access to resources. Open book exams can take place on campus and permit students to have access to specific books or texts. Alternatively, open book exams can be completed from home, sometimes referred to as a take-home exam, and permit students to have greater access to resources. In all instances, open-book exams have specific start and end times and all exams must be completed during this time. 

An open book exam typically requires students to provide long answers or essay answers but may include a section of short answer questions also. Questions are designed to encourage students to undertake research to inform their answers. The time limit recognises the expectation for students to provide detailed answers. Open book exams require students to evidence their higher-order thinking skills of applying knowledge or information or analysing, evaluating or synthesising information. The simple restating of facts or information from texts or websites is not enough to pass an open-book exam. It is expected that students will demonstrate knowledge, understanding, interpretation, analysis, evaluation and/or application of relevant theories, laws, regulations or good practice guidelines. Evidence of research is expected, with citations where applicable. It is not normally the case that students are required to provide a bibliography in open-book exams. 

Open book exams conducted remotely require all answers to be submitted through Moodle via URKUND. Students must submit open book exam answers by the deadline. A 15-minute submission window is provided but submissions after this time are not accepted.

An online quiz, sometimes called a Moodle quiz or test, is an assessment that is completed on Moodle. Each quiz will vary in terms of its format, the number of questions and the types of questions but the questions are typically a combination of short answer questions, multiple-choice questions and missing word answer questions. The questions are designed in such a way as to prevent students from just copying what is on the internet, in-class notes or in textbooks. Questions will require students to have knowledge and understanding of the subject to be able to apply it to the questions.

The questions are generated randomly by the quiz tool, so students don’t all get the same questions. All the questions come from an approved bank of questions and they all relate to the same learning outcomes.