Keeping track of students’ progress is crucial to enable students to reach the desired learning outcomes of your course. When you (re)design a course, it is important to decide for each activity what type of assessment and feedback you will give and how it will be given.

During your course, you can choose between two different types of assessment, depending on the goal you want to achieve.

Formative assessment

The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning. It is used to assess how much your students have learned so far and to diagnose which topics or parts need to be addressed more fully. Formative assessment is not for a grade but is for you as a teacher to receive insight into how to adjust your course to the needs of your students and it helps your students to focus on what’s going well, what needs to be improved and how to work on those aspects.

Keep in mind:

  • Ask specific and clear questions. For example, questions like “How does this compare to model a and b?” or “What’s the difference between theory a and b?” help students to focus on what is important, and which skills and knowledge to apply.
  • Indicate where and how students should answer the questions. For example, you can use a discussion forum in Brightspace, the chat or a poll in the video lecture tool or PresentersWall to gather their answers.
  • Quizzes can provide immediate feedback automatically. All you need to do is create a quiz on Brightspace, Kaltura Live Room, Microsoft Teams or Zoom and provide the correct answers and feedback. Depending on the tool you use, it might be possible to have open questions as well. This format is well suited for self-assessments and exam preparation. More information on how to do this can be found on this Brightspace Screensteps page or in the Kaltura blog from the library. Use these tips and tricks from Brigham Young University to create good quality multiple choice questions.
  • As a teacher, you are the expected source when it comes to providing feedback. Students value your opinion and judgement, and like to know how they are doing, but providing feedback also takes a lot of time. In some cases a peer review can just be as effective, with the added benefit that both parties will learn from the peer review session and it will contribute to the academic development of your students. For more information, read this page.

Summative assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of the course. It is often used to form the final grade or assessment. It is also a way to standardize the student performances so the results can be compared.


The most up-to-date information on how to organize digital assessment is currently published on the staff website. You can also watch the webinars 'Online formative assessment' and 'Online assessment for remote teaching' (sign in with your ULCN staff account) or read the Leiden University manuals 'Manual for Digital Assessment' and 'Tips for tests and assessment'.

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