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An Introduction to Digital Assessment

Digital technologies provide new ways of facilitating and completing many different types of assessments. You might come across different terms for this, such as “Online Assessment”, “Technology-Enhanced or Enabled Assessment” and “E-Assessment”.  At Trinity, we use the term “Digital Assessment” which we define as assessment approaches which are enabled by digital technologies.  

Digital Assessment=Assessment approaches enabled by digital technologies

This section aims to help you to understand what we mean by the term “digital assessment” at Trinity. It also aims to help you understand the role that digital technologies can play in enabling different types of assessment, and how you might use these technologies within your own assessments.  

Click on the links below for more information. 

Understanding assessment in a digital age  

At Trinity, we recognise that digital technologies have permeated all aspects of learning, teaching and assessment and we use the term ‘digital assessment’ broadly. Digital assessments are not just assessments completed online, but any assessment approach enabled by digital technologies. 

For example, you might think of essays as a traditional assessment type. However, it is rare to research, write and submit an essay without the use of digital technologies at some point! Many essayare now disseminated and collected within virtual learning environments. They are typically using word-processing software and they are informed by research often undertaken online! 

With this in mind, you will find a wide variety of digital assessment types in this Gateway hub. These assessment types include:  

  • assessments which are fully enabled by digital technologies and often defined by their use of technology—such as blogs, wikis, online discussion fora, virtual simulations, multimedia artefacts. 
  • more traditional assessments, elements of which are now often enabled using digital technologies—such as essays, annotated bibliographies, presentations.
  • assessments which have moved into a digital context due to Covid-19, but may also be undertaken in traditional face-to-face formats—such as performances or debates. 

Digital assessment is not therefore, solely about assessment that is submitted online: at Trinity we think of digital assessment as much broader than this.  

Purposes of digital assessment & standards expected 

The same principles apply when studying for and preparing for digital assessments as for traditional assessments. Although the types of assessment that you are asked to complete may be different (or not!)the purposes of assessment, and the standard expected of you, will remain the same.  With any assessment, it is important to remember: 

  • the purpose of the assessment. Do you need to demonstrate your own application of knowledge? Or do you need to demonstrate your ability to evaluate a peer’s or your own work? 
  • what you are being assessed on. For example what learning outcomes do you need to have met in this assessment? (Make sure to check the module and programme learning outcomes in your course handbook.)
  • how you are being assessed. Check the format of the assessment and what you are required to do. 

Key Takeaways

  • At Trinity, we use the term "Digital Assessment" which we define as assessment approaches which are enabled by digital technologies.
  • The types of assessment that you may be asked to complete in a digital context may be different, but the purposes of assessment, and the standard expected of you, will remain the same.
  • With any assessment, it is important to remember:
    • the purpose of assessment
    • what you are being assessed on
    • how you are being assessed and what is required.


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